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Forum Post: Israeli Government and Press Knew Teenagers Were Dead for Weeks

Posted 3 years ago on July 2, 2014, 11:10 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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Israeli Government and Press Knew Teenagers Were Dead for Weeks

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:08
By Anton Woronczuk, The Real News Network | Video Interview


More at The Real News


Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Russian journalist with The Real News Network reporting on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Born in the Soviet Union, Tarachansky grew up in a settlement in the occupied West Bank. She is the director of On the Side of the Road, a documentary on Israel's biggest taboo - the events of 1948 when the state was created. Tarachansky previously worked as a Newsroom Producer in The Real News' Washington D.C. and Toronto Headquarters, and her work appeared on BBC, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Canadian Dimension Magazine and others.


ANTON WORONCZUK, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Anton Woronczuk in Baltimore.

The bodies of three Israeli teenagers who disappeared more than two weeks ago were found in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Here to give us an update from Jaffa, Israel, is Lia Tarachansky. She's a Real News correspondent reporting from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. She is also the director of the documentary On the Side of the Road.

Thanks for joining us, Lia.

LIA TARACHANSKY, MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: Thanks so much for having me, Anton.

WORONCZUK: So talk about the latest news that three Israeli teenagers were found dead and what response we're likely to see from Israel in the next few days.

TARACHANSKY: So two very significant things happened today, the first of which is that the government finally lifted the gag order on the Israeli press to reveal that the teenagers that they've been reporting for the last two weeks were kidnapped were actually dead. This is something the government started leaking to the press almost immediately after the operation began on the third day, but forbade the Israeli press from publishing it. Of course, without them publishing it, the foreign press couldn't confirm it.

The second thing that happened today that was very important is that while all the turmoil was going on with the bodies of the three teenagers, which the government claims were found today--and, of course, the two weeks of bombardment of the Gaza Strip--the Israeli parliament passed a law today that would further entrench the Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem, making the division of Jerusalem in any future two-state agreement impossible.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And in regards to the Israeli teams, has anyone thus far claimed responsibility?

TARACHANSKY: No, no one has claimed responsibility. From the beginning no one has claimed responsibility. Meanwhile, the Israeli government, and especially the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have insisted that it's actually the fault of Hamas. Now, this is very important, 'cause it every single point where he appeared to the press and in public spheres, he insisted almost in the same sentence that while the teenagers were indeed kidnapped, maintaining the line, they were kidnapped by Hamas.

Meanwhile, when we compare this to every other incident that I've at least covered in my five years here and speaking to many veteran journalists, if the government actually has evidence that if they want to push forward live [sic], they almost immediately after the incident release the evidence. Oftentimes the evidence, you know, is not truthful--and we at The Real News have often proven that--but still they immediately after a claim release the evidence. Here they didn't release the evidence, not immediately, not after, and not even now.

Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister continued to say that this is the fault of Hamas. Now, Hamas itself as a party didn't take responsibility for this. Not one of the many branches of Hamas, including the militant branches of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, didn't take responsibility for it. Neither did the usual suspects, the Wahhabis and the Islamic Jihad. Nor did the Fatah's militant wing, al-Aqsa. So, as far as we know, none of the militant groups of the Palestinians have taken responsibility for it.

But the Hamas party refused to condemn it. In fact, they've actually said that whoever did this, you know, should be celebrated, which is what we would expect from a party that never gave up armed struggle.

Fatah, on the other hand, the Palestinian party that's in charge of Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the kidnapping almost on the second day since the--after the incident, but failed to condemn the Israeli government and the Israeli military's numerous attacks on the Hamas party, including the arrest of more than 500 people in the last two weeks, the breaking into of 2,100 homes, the destruction of many of those homes, and the issue when you have more than 100 administrative detention orders to Hamas members.

Now, today the Israeli prime minister issued the following statement in the press:

"Immediately after the abduction, we said that Hamas was responsible. I think that it is now clear to everyone upon what we based ourselves. Abu Mazen [Mahmud Abbas] says that he opposes abductions; he says that he wants to proceed on the path to peace. If he stands by what he says, there is only one way to advance peace - and that is to tear up his agreement with Hamas."

And this exactly is what this whole operation is about. The unity between Fatah and Hamas brought the latest in a series of political embarrassments to the Israeli prime minister, and he was adamant to break the unity between the two rivaling Palestinian political parties. Now it looks like the rage on the streets, on the Palestinian streets in the West Bank, as we've covered last week, has turned against the PA, and the Israeli government and the Israeli military at the same time have been crippling the Hamas party. So we're seeing here both externally and internally a rift between the two parties, which will likely lead to the end of the unity.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And just to remind our viewers, like, how have Palestinians been responding to the way the Palestinian Authority handled the crisis, considering the weeks of raids that the IDF conducted throughout the West Bank?

TARACHANSKY: Yeah. So, yesterday, a former minister of the Palestinian Authority had stones and shoes thrown at him at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. We've seen the protests on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza against the way the Palestinian Authority has handled this situation. And as we reported last week, in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, one group--the al-Aqsa Brigade, most likely--has actually opened fire on a PA security chief. And everyone I've been speaking to in my time in the West Bank says that the rage against the Palestinian Authority has really reached unprecedented levels.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And do you think that Israel's going to intensify its military actions in Gaza?

TARACHANSKY: We'll see. I just want to remind our audience that the rage is actually about the PA's coordination with the Israeli army. So all the while, while the Israeli army has been breaking into hundreds and thousands of homes, most of whom belong to Hamas Party members, but also many others--. For example, in the refugee camps around Nablus, anyone who spends any time in Israeli jails, which is 40 percent of the Palestinian males, for any reason at all had their house broken into, oftentimes they were beaten with for no reason, sometimes beaten into a critical condition. And they just went door to door to door to anybody who's ever spent the time in jail.

And all this time, the Palestinian Authority--of course, from pressure from the United States--has been coordinating with the Israeli has been coordinating with the Israeli army. And this is one of the main reasons why there's a lot of rage against that. Now, another very key curious thing about this whole incident is if indeed the teenagers were kidnapped and killed or killed while trying [not] to get kidnapped, why is the Israeli government bombarding Gaza for the last two weeks? Yesterday they killed a senior official in the Hamas Party, and as a result, for the first time since November 2012, since the last war we had here, the Hamas Party launched a rocket against southern Israel.

So we're seeing here that there's a very intentional campaign of agitation. There was one soldier who leaked to the Orthodox paper Behadrey Haredim that there was actually snipers in the Jenin refugee camp who were trying to shoot people to instigate stone throws. So we're seeing that the government is intentionally trying to instigate a third intifada, which will then legitimate a very wide violent campaign against the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

WORONCZUK: Okay. Lia Tarachansky, coming to us from Jaffa, Israel. Thanks for that update.

TARACHANSKY: Thanks for having me, Anton.

WORONCZUK: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.



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[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Israel's Assault on Gaza Obscures Core Issues: Racism, Occupation, Colonization

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 09:08
By Rashid Khalidi, AlterNet | News Analysis


Another Israeli assault on Gaza will produce more red herrings.

These include an obsessive focus on Israeli suffering, linked to an insistence on equivalence between intensive Israeli air raids on a tiny and highly populated strip of land killing at least 81 Palestinians and wounding 615 thus far, most of them civilians, and inaccurate Palestinian rocket-fire which has reached distant targets but has harmed no Israelis so far. With these red herrings come the utter obliteration of any background or context. Background such as that Palestinians have been subjected to nearly five decades of illegal occupation, colonization, subjugation and humiliation. Context such as that two young Palestinians were killed in cold blood by Israeli troops in May, a month before three settlers were kidnapped and killed. Or that Israel launched a massive search-and-destroy campaign against Hamas in the West Bank long before the first rocket barrage was fired from Gaza. Or that Israeli security sources confirmed that even while hundreds of Hamas adherents were being rounded up in these raids, Hamas tried for days to restrain other groups’ rocket fire from Gaza. The red herrings are essential, of course, to distract us from what is really going on: the occupation regime and its infernal settlement project are operating on all cylinders while racism and thuggish incitement against Arabs have infected broader and broader segments of Israeli society.

Despite its potential for getting out of the control of the protagonists, and despite the psychological impact of the rocket attacks on Israelis, this conflict has certain advantages for the Israeli government. Its forces are once again using potent American weapons to shoot human fish in the barrel that is Gaza, an open air 360 sq. km. prison for 1.8 million people. This is taking place under dehumanizing and racist rubric dear to Israeli security specialists of “mowing the grass” – as if the civilians who are falling by the score are no more than inanimate weeds. This video game war (that is what it is for the Israeli drone operators and pilots doing the bombardment) serves to let off ultra-nationalistic Israeli steam while simultaneously changing the subject at a moment when, for the first time, the West has really gazed at settler violence and the regular abuse of children by Israeli state, after the burning alive of a Jerusalem boy and the brutal beating of his young cousin. Those atrocities, well reported, with video footage of the beating and graphic detail about the murder, were too awful to ignore. Even the spin which tried to describe the perpetrators as outcasts in Israeli society could not disguise the fact that, as an Israeli journalist wrote, those who carried out the atrocity are “the children of the nationalistic and racist generation –Netanyahu’s children.” That said, we have yet to see the US media report regularly on the 1407 Palestinian children NOT engaged in hostilities who have been killed by Israel troops and settlers since 2000, with an average of over two of them dying every single week of those 14 years. Nor have we heard about the Palestinian minors regularly kidnapped, detained (214 of them were being held in May 2014) and even tortured by Israeli forces without charge or trial.

Earlier, the murder of three young Israelis living in a West Bank settlement gave the Israeli army the excuse to launch its dragnet across the West Bank, targeting Hamas (which to this day has not claimed the kidnapping-killings). This was mainly designed to achieve another cherished Israeli objective: wrecking the recent Palestinian unity government. Heaven forbid that the Palestinians unify their ranks and strengthen their debilitated national movement. This is unacceptable from Netanyahu’s point of view, as it might enable them better to resist Israel’s so far unstoppable colonial land-rush. Advancing this colonial settlement project is the core objective of the Netanyahu government, as it has been the core objective of most of its predecessors since at least 1977.

Rockets fired from Gaza also have the inestimable value for Israeli leaders of letting them do whatever they want to Gaza while receiving the usual pious US support for Israeli “self-defense.” This blanket support enables them to disregard the recent warning of a White House official that “Israel confronts an undeniable reality: it cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.” As usual, the besieged and incarcerated people of Gaza will pay the highest price, while those of the West Bank and East Jerusalem will continue to suffer the humiliation and routine brutality of occupation and dispossession. And as usual the media will swallow the standard hasbara red herrings, will ignore background and context, and will report this story with the clock starting a month ago with the abductions of the three Israeli settlers, or with the first rockets fired from Gaza.

But like most recent Israeli encounters with the Palestinians, like every previous assault launched against Gaza, this will be a losing maneuver. In the long run it will backfire, producing another crack in the edifice of Israel’s illegal and morally bankrupt project of perpetual occupation and unceasing colonization. Just the other day, Netanyahu let slip what he had never uttered before: in future negotiations, Israel will insist on permanent occupation, meaning permanent subjugation of the Palestinians. All of this is in service of the Revisionist-Likud dream of unlimited settlement to achieve a greater Eretz Israel. However, the ongoing unrest in Arab East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories as well as in Palestinian communities within Israel is another warning. It is the third such warning since the first intifada began in 1987, that this inhuman and racist project is unsustainable, and there is simply no way that it will pass: it cannot proceed in calm and tranquility, as some dream, because it cannot force the Palestinians to submit.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.


[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

In Our Collective Name

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:55
By David Theo Goldberg, Truthout | Op-Ed


Israel is at it again. It has been bombing Gaza and its inhabitants mercilessly, even indiscriminately. Some say disproportionately though that judgment is predicated on accepting that there is some self-defending legitimacy to killing almost at random women, children and men, even the unborn, simply to be rid of them in the name of "hunting out the terrorists." This, surely, is a deeply questionable rationalization at best.

To date upwards of 150 Gazans have been killed, while rockets fired from Gaza on southern Israel have killed one. Disproportion plays no part in the Israeli calculus, and to think, part of the logic at work is to take Israel at its disingenuous word. What is really at work is Israel's intermittent undertaking, bid up each time, to purge Palestine of a good deal of its people, to put them on notice that leaving would be better than living in Palestine, that for Palestinians, Palestine is a pipe dream evaporating in the pall of smoke rising above Gaza.

Three Israeli teenagers were murdered in the West Bank. Israeli militants retaliated by burning alive a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem. The Israeli armed forces responded first by rounding up large numbers of Palestinian activists and then by reacting to Hamas rockets by obliterating swathes of northern Gaza. It doesn't matter that those apparently responsible for the teenage deaths were not Hamas members, even though Hamas seemed to approve of the disappearance. That one could ask what three teenage Israeli boys were doing hitchhiking in the West Bank speaks to the disproportionate sense of entitlement of Israelis to Palestinian turf; after all, three Palestinian teenage boys hitchhiking in Israel would quickly be picked up by the Israeli police. The boys should not have lost their lives for doing so; to say this is at once to acknowledge that Palestinian youth have lost theirs in much larger numbers at the hands of the Israeli state and population. This seems a moral consideration long lost on the Israeli government and increasingly on its citizens.

What seems new about the current bombardment of Gaza by Israel is not the extent of it, not the expanding number of deaths, alas, not the trapped experience of living in the Gaza concentration camp with no relief, no way out, no future but that dictated by Israel. All this has been standard state practice, increasingly if in fits and starts, at least since 1967 and especially since 2000. What is new is not so much the fact but the disturbing extent and depth, the openness and vehemence with which Israel's everyman and woman, its ordinary teenage boys and girls, are expressly supporting the extermination of Gazans, and of Palestinians more generally: Gaza should be the Arab graveyard, bombing women and children in Gaza is orgasmic, death to all Arabs, kill all Arabs so there will not be another generation, hating Arabs isn't racism, it's a commandment from God. These are accurate paraphrases of the very terms circulating on social media today.

The extraordinary ordinariness of these tweets by teenage girls figured alongside bikini'd photographs of themselves is reinforced by their parental celebration, eating popcorn and cheering the bombs dropping on Gaza from the safety of their Israeli suburban lawns. For disturbing our peace, for so much as undoing our absolute sense of self-righteous security, for reminding us of our history, for holding in question our right to be here, we will kill you, obliterate you, call for your extermination. And ejaculate at the thought of it. Obscenity doesn't begin to characterize the moral degradation at work.

What this points to is a sense that Israel-Palestine, alone together, as two states separate and apart, has no conceivable future, if it ever did. The settler state will not be satisfied until the settlers have completely cleansed the land of its long memories and the people who remind them of its long past. It will rewrite the historical record to purge it of any reference to a pre-existing condition. In purging people and fashioning make-believe history it seeks at once to foreclose the possibility of another way forward, one that - difficult as it is - imagines a future of living together.

Israel's trajectory is to realize a mindless vision, a thoughtless one, to use Hannah Arendt's memorable characterization of Eichmann, a vision that bespeaks the madness of megalomania rather than one of living in peace. For the future of a state predicated on extermination of those it takes not to belong, to purify its ground by obliteration, to sanctify its stateliness by extinction is bound to be haunted by the nightmare of its own making. That it fails to see this can only mean it has completely lost the lesson of the Holocaust haunting its own being.

This no doubt will be dismissed by apologists for Israel - pretty much as any criticism of Israel, large or small, is brushed aside. Today this dismissed criticism cannot escape attributing madness also to Israel's population and its supporters more broadly. Yes, a state and its people have a right to self-defense, but a defense destined inevitably to heighten the conflict, to fan the raging flames of resentment and retribution, is not one that can be credited with rationality.

These are no longer matters that concern only Israel and its citizens. They are matters concerning all Jews everywhere. Many of us across the world have close relatives in Israel, who have served in the army; our mothers and fathers may be buried there, our siblings contributing to Israeli society. We may have visited, repeatedly, filled with family argument after argument about possibility and impossibility, longing and belonging, blindness and responsibility. We are told we each have a "right to return" to a "homeland" not all of us know, invested with pregnant and often imaginary meaning, one that for millennia has been inhabited and sometimes co-inhabited by those increasingly now displaced from their own and to which they have a rightful claim.

So Israel's killing fields have been carried out in the name of all Jews, not only in the voice of those Israeli teenage girls and boys who understand not at all of which they tweet. There is no excuse for them, less for their parents. A "right to return" to a state that so cavalierly kills - one family of 17 was "inadvertently" completely wiped out as Israel sought to assassinate the Gaza police chief visiting an aunt in a neighboring home - amounts to a license to kill in one's name.

In seeking to end rockets being fired from Gaza deeper and deeper into Israel, the Israelis are admitting implicitly that the day will come when their technological superiority will no longer offset the capacity of at least some Palestinians angered and resentful from decades of degradation and death at the hands of their oppressors to cause extensive destruction within Israel. Hatred and the call for extermination on one side bids up and expands already existing calls in reverse on the other. Technological superiority inevitably gives way across the long stretch of history. The current hell-bent drive to delimit Hamasian capacity will more than likely hasten that day. Israel's manic death-drive is as bankrupt on instrumental as it is on moral grounds. It is far past the time for all of us to face up to the fact that the moral dilemmas strangling Jewish life today, tearing us apart, are the price to be paid for the indiscriminate, spiraling and altogether unnecessary killings being executed in our collective name.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

US Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Defense of Alleged Killers of Palestinian Teen

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 09:14
By Uri Blau, ProPublica | Report


A controversial Israeli organization that's representing the six men recently arrested in the recent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager is receiving thousands of dollars in tax-deductible support from Americans. The group, called Honenu (which roughly translates to "pardon"), supports Israelis charged with or convicted of violence against Palestinians.

Honenu's work goes well goes beyond legal aid.

The group says it also provides "spiritual" and "financial" assistance to prisoners and their families. Among those Honenu has helped: Yigal Amir, assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; an Israeli convicted of murdering seven Palestinians at a bus stop; and an Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter and obstruction of justice after shooting a British photographer in Gaza.

The tax-exempt donations do not appear to run afoul of U.S. law. But they do put U.S. taxpayers in the position of subsidizing aid to Israelis convicted of politically motivated violence.

Asked about the group's work, Honenu spokesman Eran Schwartz said the organization "provides much help to Israeli police, soldiers and citizens who are entitled, as are all people, to legal defense." Schwartz declined to answer our other questions, including about the group's financial support that goes beyond legal defense. (See their full statement below.)

Honenu's latest filing to the Israeli government shows its overall budget for 2012 was nearly $600,000, about $120,000 of which went to legal aid, $34,000 to "financial assistance," and the rest to salaries and overhead. (Here is Honenu's filing, in Hebrew.)

The group, which was founded in 2001, uses an American nonprofit as conduit for donations. Honenu's website, which advertises that "your contribution is tax-deductible," says checks should be made out to "Central Fund of Israel," or CFI. As the New York Times detailed in 2010, the Central Fund of Israel serves as a "clearing house" for donations to hundreds of groups in Israel, some of them supporting settlements.

CFI has grown almost continuously since it was founded in 1979 by members of the Marcus family, who own a New York textile company.

Operating from Manhattan's garment district, CFI received about $16 million in 2012, according to the Fund's latest filing with the Internal Revenue Service. Jay Marcus, who now runs CFI, said donations in 2013 reached about $19 million.

In the Fund's filings with the IRS, it lists donations to Israeli groups as going to "social services, humanitarian aid, and aid to the poor."

Marcus confirmed in a phone call that his organization transfers donations to Honenu. "They are a legal aid society," he said.

Honenu's filing with the Israeli government shows the group received about $120,000 from CFI in 2012. The documents identify another $12,000 coming from "Honenu USA." A nonprofit organization with that name operated from Queens, New York and last filed a report to the Internal Revenue Service in 2010, stating it had received contributions of $33,000. It is not clear if Honenu USA is still active.

Marcus Owens, a lawyer who ran the IRS's nonprofit unit in the 1990s said such donations can fall into a tricky area: "While providing legal assistance to those accused of crimes is a long-standing charitable purpose (e.g. the American Civil Liberties Union), providing assistance to relatives of those convicted of crimes has been viewed by the US government as potentially encouraging further criminal action."

The State Department's recent annual report on terrorism included, for the first time, attacks by Israelis against Palestinians, citing a rise in "violent acts by extremist Jewish individuals and groups in retaliation for activity they deemed to be anti-settlement."

If you have experience with or information about American nonprofits supporting extremists in Israel, email Uri Blau or tweet him @uri_blau. Blau is an Israeli investigative journalist specialized in military and political affairs, corruption and transparency. He was a 2014 Nieman Fellow for Journalism at Harvard University.

Full response from Honenu

As our article details, Honenu is an Israeli group that received tax-deductible donations from the United States and supports Israelis charged with or convicted of violence against Palestinians. We asked Honenu for comment prior to our article. This is their full response:

Honenu's response to article by Uri Blau. The reporter, Uri Blau was convicted of severe crimes of espionage against Israel which attests to his motives and his anti-Israel and anti-Semitic interests. To date, we have not heard him expressing regret for his criminal actions. Honenu provides much help to Israeli police, soldiers and citizens who are entitled, as are all people, to legal defense. We will not cooperate with a convicted criminal whose goal is to damage Israelis and Jews.

The author of our article, freelancer Uri Blau, was convicted in 2012 in Israel of holding classified military documents he received as a reporter. The International Press Institute condemned the case against Blau as "undermining press freedom in general and investigative journalism in particular" in Israel. Here is more on Blau's case and press freedoms in Israel.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

"Israel Targets Civilians, the Casualties Speak Volumes": International Protection Urged for Besieged Gaza

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:19
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Interview


Thousands of Gazans have fled their homes amidst a relentless Israeli bombing campaign that has now killed more than 170 people, most of them civilians, since it began a week ago. The United Nations estimates at least 80 percent of the dead are civilian, of whom 20 percent are children — at least 36 dead. More than 1,200 Palestinians have been wounded, nearly two-thirds women and children. Some 940 homes have reportedly been severely damaged or destroyed, 400,000 people are without electricity, and 17,000 people are displaced. Hamas has fired an estimated 700 rockets into Israel, causing no direct killings but leaving an Israeli teen critically wounded. We get reaction from Palestinian attorney Diana Buttu, who has served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel and to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "When Israel talks about who it’s targeting and what it’s targeting, they’ve never proffered any proof or any evidence for what it is they’re trying to hit," Buttu says. "At the end of the day, as much as Israel tries to claim they are not targeting civilians, they are — and the casualties speak volumes."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli Defense Forces and tanks are positioned along the border in the seventh day of Israel’s offensive. As of this morning, the Palestinian death toll has reached at least 172, among them 140 civilians, including 30 children. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, more than 1,200 people have been wounded. This weekend brought the deadliest strikes to date, including a bombing that killed 18 members of the same family. No Israelis have been killed.

On Sunday, the Israeli military dropped leaflets and sent text messages to warn residents of the northern Palestinian town of Beit Lahiya to evacuate the area as it planned to intensify its large-scale bombing campaign. One displaced resident described an Israeli leaflet telling locals, quote, "any moving body after noon will be struck," unquote.

In addition to bombing homes, Israel has carried out a number of attacks on Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says the targets have included charities, parks, sports clubs and a mosque. The United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Office estimates thousands have been displaced in Gaza. Almost a thousand homes have been destroyed. On Saturday, Israeli shelling killed two disabled women and wounded four when a tank shell struck a rehabilitation center in Gaza City. A member of an ambulance crew spoke to the media.

AMBULANCE CREW MEMBER: [translated] These are the targets of Bibi Netanyahu. These are the remains of children. These are dolls for children. These are the targets of Bibi Netanyahu. These are the targets of the Jews. They are children in an organization for the disabled.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed alarm at the escalation in fighting as the Security Council is demanding a ceasefire. His office released a statement that, quote, "The Secretary-General does not believe that what is inherently a longstanding, serious political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved via military means by either side. He remains engaged with both sides to urge de-escalation and an end to violence."

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet that responsibility for civilian deaths in Gaza lies with Hamas.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: [translated] We don’t know when this operation will be over. It may take a long time, and we need your support and your discipline. Hamas uses the residents of Gaza as a human shield and is bringing disaster on the residents of Gaza, and therefore the responsibility for any harm done to civilians in Gaza, which we regret, the responsibility is that of Hamas and its partners, and them alone.

AMY GOODMAN: Militants in Gaza have fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.

Well, for more, we’re joined from Harvard University by Diana Buttu, an attorney based in Palestine. She has served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel. She was previously an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

We welcome you to Democracy Now! Diana Buttu, can you respond to the latest news from Gaza right now?

DIANA BUTTU: Yes, Amy, in addition to the killings of people, there have been more than 940 houses that have been destroyed by the Israeli army, in addition to much of the water infrastructure has also been targeted. This is a war that has been taking place against the Palestinian civilian population, deliberately designed to bring down the Palestinian civilian population. And this is why we’ve been calling for international intervention to hold Israel accountable to make sure that this precisely stops.

AMY GOODMAN: So, can you talk about how you see this ending?

DIANA BUTTU: The problem is, Amy, is that I don’t see it ending. The real issue here is whether Israel is going to be held accountable. And so far there hasn’t been any international actors who have stepped forward to say anything to Israel or to do anything against Israel. There haven’t been sanctions lobbied against Israel. There haven’t been any statements. And at the end of the day, it’s going to be simply a question of whether Israel gets tired of continuing to bomb a civilian population. We’ve seen this in the past, when it’s carried out bombing campaigns against Lebanon and also the previous bombing campaigns against Gaza. They usually end when Israel—when public opinion turns against Israel. And at the point in time, I just don’t see that there’s any action that’s being taken the stop Israel from continuing to carry out these attacks.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to comments made by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on the weekend on Fox News.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: You know, here’s the difference between us. We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles. That’s basically the difference. They’re embedding these rockets that they’re firing wholesale into our cities, terrorist rocketing, trying to kill as many as they can. They’re not succeeding because of two reasons. One is because we’ve developed this incredible missile defense system, which I think is a historic development in the history of defensive warfare, with U.S. help, and I want to thank the American people, President Obama, the U.S. Congress for helping us fund this amazing development. But the other reason we’re succeeding—you have to understand some of the rockets do pierce through this shield, and the reason we’re succeeding is also because we’re targeting the rocketeers. The rocketeers are firing from homes. These homes are actually command posts of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad army. So, that’s where they have their secure communications, weapon caches, rockets, hidden map rooms and so on. These are their command posts. Obviously we’re not going to give them immunity, and so we have to attack them. And we try to minimize, as we can, civilian casualties.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

AMY GOODMAN: That’s the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Fox this weekend. Diana Buttu, again, he said, "We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians; they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles. That’s basically the difference," he says.

DIANA BUTTU: This is simply Israeli propaganda at its finest. When you look at the death toll and you see the numbers, then the numbers actually speak volumes. When you see that 80 percent of the people who have been killed are civilian, when you see that half of them are women and children, and when you see that who they’re actually bombing is a population 43 percent of whom are under the age of 14, then this is very easy to pierce through the propaganda.

But more importantly, I think it’s important to keep in mind that when Israel talks about who it’s targeting and what it’s targeting, they’ve never proffered any proof or any evidence for what it is that they’re trying to hit. They simply make these allegations, and networks like Fox take it in and simply accept it as being fact. But the fact of the matter is, is that when all of this is over, Israel has never allowed independent investigators to come in and see what it is that Israel is doing. At the end of the day, as much as Israel tries to claim that they’re not targeting civilians, they are, and the casualties speak volumes.

AMY GOODMAN: Last week we spoke to Joshua Hantman, the senior adviser to Israel’s ambassador to the United States. I asked him about the killing. At that point, it was more than a hundred Palestinians had been killed by Israeli airstrikes, most of them women and children. This was his response.

JOSHUA HANTMAN: For Israel, any civilian death is not only a tragedy, but it’s a failure, as well. And we review every single operation and every single strike to see how we can improve. We’ve hit over 800 targets to try and stop these rockets, to try and stop this indiscriminate missile fire against our civilians. Out of those 800 targets, I’ll be honest, the precision—the precision is quite outstanding. And there is no military in the history of the world that has actually used such precision targets. I mean, think about it from a military tactics point of view. We tell our enemies—we tell Hamas where we’re going to hit. We tell them with text messages, with phone calls, with leaflets. We tell them in order to get civilians out of harm’s way. But for them, civilian death is actually—it’s actually a success.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Joshua Hantman, the senior adviser to Israel’s ambassador to the United States, again, responding to my question about the number of Palestinian children and women who have been killed. He talked about precision bombing. Diana Buttu, your response?

DIANA BUTTU: Yes, he’s precise. He is precisely bombing children, and he’s precisely bombing women. If their targeting is so precise, then what he’s saying is actually correct, that they are actually targeting women and children and civilians. And so, at the end of the day, as much as they can try to coat this as being somehow an aggression against some elements within the Gaza Strip, we know otherwise. And the death tolls in these past three aggressions against the Gaza Strip, these past three massacres, really lay out the picture that is actually happening there.

Amy, it’s important to keep in mind exactly what we’re talking about here in the Gaza Strip. This is a place that is twice the size of D.C., Washington, D.C., and it’s got 1.8 million people in it. Half of the population is under the age of 18. As I said, 43 percent is under the age of 14. If you are age seven at this point in time, you’ve been through three bombing campaigns by the Israelis. So, at the end of the day, as much as the Israelis want to claim that they’re using this target precision devices, etc., the toll is really being taken out on Palestinian civilians. So far to date, the Israelis have dropped more weaponry and more bombings than over the three-week campaign that took place in 2009. They’ve admittedly dropped more than 800 tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip.

AMY GOODMAN: Israel says it’s launching its attacks in response to the rocket fire from Gaza.

DIANA BUTTU: This is also another myth, Amy. It’s important to keep in mind what the events were that led up to this whole issue. There were three Israelis who had gone missing in the West Bank. The three Israelis, even though the Israelis knew that they were killed immediately, they ended up putting Palestinians under collective punishment. They ended up arresting more than 500 Palestinians. They killed 11 within that—even before the attack on the Gaza Strip. They ransacked 2,000 homes. They ended up demolishing quite a number of homes. And it became clear that this was going to spiral out of control. Bibi Netanyahu himself said that he was going to try to escalate to try to go after Hamas, even though they had absolutely no evidence. And what he really intended to do was to try to break this national unity government. He knew very well that the international support was alongside the Palestinians, because Israel had continued its settlement activity. It had failed when it came to the peace process. And it needed to bring international support back to Israel by carrying out a bombing campaign against Gaza.

AMY GOODMAN: Critics say the Israeli government is trying to destroy the Palestinian Authority—the unity deal with Hamas, as well as the recent efforts for international recognition by joining U.N. conventions. Can you respond to this, Diana Buttu?

DIANA BUTTU: Yes, I think that this is very much part of the strategy. If you think back to where we were just a couple of months ago, we were at the end of the peace process, a peace process that had failed in large part because—or entirely because the Israeli side continued to build more and more settlements. Even Secretary Kerry had said that he was exasperated by the situation. The national unity government was formed. Israel kept trying to break that national unity government. The international community was not willing to side with Israel on this, recognizing that this national unity government was the best thing for Palestinians. And in particular, there aren’t any members of Hamas within the national unity government. And so, he did his best to try to break it. He tried to do it through propaganda, and now he’s trying to do it with this military assault, all the while trying to shift focus onto Hamas and what Hamas is doing and ignoring the fact that he’s actually heading a government that consists of people who call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain who those are who are firing the rockets at Israel? Who are the forces within Gaza? And what is the response within the population?

DIANA BUTTU: There are different people who are firing rockets. Some of them are members of Islamic Jihad, some of them are members of other smaller organizations, and some of them are members of Hamas. To be quite honest, I don’t know. I don’t live in Gaza at the moment; I used to, but I don’t at the moment. So it’s unclear.

The response of the Palestinian population is mixed. On the one hand, Palestinians recognize that there needs to be some defense and that they need to defend themselves against what Israel is doing. And on the other hand, there are some Palestinians who are critical and who are saying that this is just simply going to wreak more and more havoc on Palestinian lives. But at the end of the day, they recognize who is dropping the bombs, which is the Israelis.

And moving forward, I think that the only way that we can move forward is begin to talk about protecting Palestinians and having an international protection force that is there to protect Palestinians. This is something that the Israelis have refused to do over time. And I think now is the time that we begin to talk about this issue once again.

AMY GOODMAN: What has been the role of the United States?

DIANA BUTTU: The United States has been the biggest enabler for Israel. We haven’t heard any condemnations by Secretary Kerry or Obama. Instead, we’ve simply heard that Israel has a right to defend itself, whereas we know what Israel is doing: It’s defending its military occupation. We haven’t heard anything regarding the death toll that’s been inflicted on Palestinians and the efforts made by some Palestinians to broker a ceasefire. Instead, it’s simply been a hands-off system of allowing Israel to do whatever it wants to do. And again, Amy, this is not going to bring us any further to ending this conflict.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think Hamas is ready for a ceasefire?

DIANA BUTTU: Hamas has indicated that they are ready for a ceasefire. They’ve listed out their conditions for a ceasefire. There was a call made last Thursday by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to Secretary Kerry to try to get him to broker a ceasefire. He indicated that Netanyahu had outright rejected it. Netanyahu keeps indicating that he will not entertain talk of a ceasefire. And if you think about it, he has no—there’s no urgency for him to do so, because of the fact that there has been no international response against what Israel is doing.

AMY GOODMAN: I know you have to leave, Diana Buttu, but what are the conditions that Hamas has laid out for a ceasefire?

DIANA BUTTU: The primary conditions are for Israel to stop the attacks. Another condition is that they’ve indicated that they should release those prisoners that were re-arrested in this roundup after the three Israelis had gone missing. They’ve also indicated—they put forward other conditions relating to the movement of people, etc. But interestingly enough, they have actually not mentioned anything about the ongoing siege, which I think is one of the main reasons that this continues.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

AMY GOODMAN: Diana Buttu, thank you for being with us, attorney based in Palestine, though she is at Harvard University right now, where we are speaking to her in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Diana Buttu has served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel. She was previously an adviser to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. When we come back, we go directly to Gaza. Stay with us.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Report From Israel's Border With Gaza

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:08
By Lia Tarachansky , The Real News Network | Video Report


More at The Real News


While the Israeli cabinet deliberates whether to expand its current assault on the Gaza Strip, The Real News' Lia Tarachansky traveled to the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. She reports on the barrage of rockets various militant groups inside the strip have been firing on Israeli population centers, and on the intensified bombardment campaign from the air and sea of the Strip.

Check back later for the full transcript.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Gaza's Torment, Israel's Crimes, Our Responsibilities

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:06
By Noam Chomsky, Z Communications | Op-Ed


At 3am Gaza time, July 9, in the midst of Israel’s latest exercise in savagery, I received a phone call from a young Palestinian journalist in Gaza. In the background, I could hear his infant child wailing, amidst the sounds of explosions and jet planes, targeting any civilian who moves, and homes as well. He just saw a friend of his in a car clearly marked “press” blown away. And he heard shrieks next door after an explosion but can’t go outside or he’ll be a likely target. This is a quiet neighborhood, no military targets – except Palestinians who are fair game for Israel’s high tech US-supplied military machine. He said that 70% of the ambulances have been destroyed, and that by then over 70 had been killed, and of the 300 or so wounded, about 2/3 women and children. Few Hamas activists have been hit – or rocket launching sites. Just the usual victims.

It is important to understand what life is like in Gaza when Israel’s behavior is “restrained,” in between the regular manufactured crises like this one. A good sense is given in a report to UNRWA by Mads Gilbert, the courageous and expert Norwegian physician who has worked extensively in Gaza, also throughout the vicious and murderous Cast Lead operation. In every respect, the situation is disastrous. Just keeping to children, Gilbert reports: “Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering immensely. A large proportion are affected by the man-made malnourishment regime caused by the Israeli imposed blockage. Prevalence of anaemia in children <2yrs in Gaza is at 72.8%, while prevalence of wasting, stunting, underweight have been documented at 34.3%, 31.4%, 31.45% respectively.” And it gets worse as the report proceeds.

When Israel is on “good behavior,” more than two Palestinian children are killed every week, a pattern that goes back over 14 years. The underlying cause is the criminal occupation and the programs to reduce Palestinian life to bare survival in Gaza, while Palestinians are restricted to unviable cantons in the West Bank and Israel takes over what it wants, all in gross violation of international law and explicit Security Council resolutions, not to speak of minimal decency. And it will continue as long as it is supported by Washington and tolerated by Europe – to our everlasting shame.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

ABC News Tells Viewers That Scenes of Destruction in Gaza Are in Israel

Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:36
By Rania Khalek, The Electronic Intifada | Op-Ed



More than fifty Palestinians have been killed and another 450 wounded since Monday in Israel’s ongoing assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” by the Israeli army.

As usual, mainstream media outlets are straining to paint Israel as the victim, defending its people against irrational Palestinian rocket fire.

There is no equating the killing and maiming of dozens of innocent Palestinians with scared Israelis seeking shelter from crude rockets that rarely cause damage. But that hasn’t stopped media outlets from trying, and in some cases, outright lying, to distort the violence.

In one stark example, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer misidentifies scenes of the aftermath of Israeli missile strikes in Gaza as destruction caused by Palestinian rocket fire.

As Sawyer segues into the segment, she says, “We take you overseas now to the rockets raining down on Israel today as Israel tried to shoot them out of the sky.” Next to her is video footage not of Israelis or even Israel, but of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Sawyer then incorrectly describes an image of a Palestinian family gathering belongings in the smoking debris of a missile-hit home in Gaza as “an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can.”

Sawyer then describes an image of a Palestinian woman surrounded by destroyed homes as “one woman standing speechless among the ruins,” with the implication that she is Israeli.

Sawyer’s bald misreporting reflects either a deliberate lie by ABC News or willful ignorance so severe that Palestinian death and misery is invisible even when it’s staring ABC producers right in the face.

The segment in its entirety can be seen here. http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/israel-hit-150-rockets-targeting-10-cities-24477752?tab=9482930&section=1206853&playlist=24185255

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

''Incitement Starts at the Top'': After Arab Teen's Murder, Israeli Government Accused of Fueling Hatred

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 12:22
By Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate, Democracy Now! | Video Interview


The threat of an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip comes amidst heavy unrest in the West Bank and in Arab towns inside Israel following the killings of a Palestinian teenager and three teenage Israelis. The Israeli teens were abducted while hitchhiking near the West Bank settlement where they lived. Their bodies were found last week, after more than two weeks of Israeli raids throughout the West Bank that saw more than 200 Palestinians arrested and more than a dozen killed. In an apparent act of revenge right after the Israeli teens' bodies were found, a Palestinian teenager named Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted near his home in East Jerusalem. His dead body was found shortly after, showing signs he was burned live. On Monday, Israel said it had arrested six suspects and that three have already confessed. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli leaders have condemned the killing, Khdeir's death followed calls for vengeance from Israeli political leaders as well as in marches and on social media. We are joined by two guests: Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the new book, "The Battle for Justice in Palestine," and Miko Peled, a peace activist and author of "The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine." The book's title refers to a unique family history: Miko's father, "Matti" Peled, served as a general in the 1967 war and later became a peace activist, calling for Israel to withdraw from the territory he helped to capture.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Miko Peled is our guest, coming up. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. He's an Israeli peace activist and writer. His father was an Israeli general. He's the author of The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. His father was an Israeli general who ultimately became a peace activist, saying that Israel should give back the territories that he helped to capture in 1967. I'm Amy Goodman, with Aaron Maté. Miko is with us in Jerusalem.

Can you talk about the Israeli soldiers that are amassing along the Israeli border—the Gaza border?

MIKO PELED: Yeah, hi. You know, I have to say, hearing Mohammed Omer and his description from Gaza—you know, he's only about 45 minutes away from me. I'm sitting here in Jerusalem in an air-conditioned room, plenty of light, plenty of water, no shortages of any kind. And this horrendous, horrendous reality that he's describing, that is about to become worse as the result of an impending Israeli ground invasion, is a direct result of the criminal siege that Israel has been imposing on Gaza for years now, putting 1.6 million people in a cruel and inexcusable—under a cruel and inexcusable siege.

But I think it's important to take a look at this in a larger context. I think one of the problems is people look at all these—at the current state of affairs as though it's isolated. Israel has been bombing and killing people in Gaza since it created the Gaza Strip in the early 1950s. On a regular base, Israel goes in and kills civilians in Gaza. This has been going on for six decades. Of course, it's getting worse. The technology is getting better. And the casualty count is getting worse. But this is part of a larger issue, a larger problem. And the problem is that people equate the Palestinian response to Israeli violence and to Israeli aggression as terrorism, instead of realizing that this is an act of resistance. The Palestinians have been the subject of oppression and violence by Israel from the very beginning that the state of Israel was established. This is why we have a Gaza Strip. This is why we have hundreds of thousands of refugees in the Gaza Strip and other places. These people were forced out of their home as a result of an act of terrorism, which created the state of Israel in 1948. These people have been resisting, and they've been resisting in other places, mostly by nonviolent means. Of course, the more violent, the more the armed struggle gets a lot more media, but mostly by nonviolent means. They have been part of a brutal oppression for six decades.

And what we see today is, of course, the result of one straw that literally broke the camel's back, and we see uprising in places that we haven't seen before, like, you know, inside Palestinian communities inside Israel. These are Israeli citizens. And Israel planning to go in and kill more Palestinians, knowing full well they're going to be burning more Palestinian children, just like the one who was burned by these four or five individuals who were not soldiers, but Israeli military has been doing this for decades. This is nothing new. And I think it's important to take a look at this not as an isolated issue, not as an isolated incident, but as part of a larger issue that has to be resolved, has to be resolved so that Israelis and Palestinians can move forward finally.

AARON MATÉ: Miko Peled, you were arrested recently at a protest in the West Bank, protesting the occupation. You're one of a group of Israelis who regularly takes part in these kind of solidarity actions. Has the brutal killing of Mohammed Khdeir done anything to raise discussion about the settlements, about the fact that this occupation is continuing and Palestinians are subjected to these types of—this type of brutality every day?

MIKO PELED: I think it only has done so in that the foreign press is suddenly interested again. But in terms of the discussion on the Palestinian side, this is nothing new. This particular brutal case of murder is really nothing new. I mean, Israel—what do you think happens when Israel drops tons of bombs from the air on Gaza? Children get burned.

The issue of the settlement is also one of these absurd issues that people talk about, knowing full well there can be no change. Israel will never stop building cities and towns wherever it likes, everywhere in the Middle—everywhere in what Israel considers the land of Israel. And so, this whole debate of settlements and no settlements, again, has to be taken in a larger issue. Israel has been building settlements on occupied Palestinian land since 1948, since the state of Israel was established. You know, the entire country is occupied Palestine. And it's time to wake up and talk about it like this. This whole debate about the occupied Palestinian territories being only part of the country and the settlement problem being only part of the country is absurd. Palestinian towns within Israel, Palestinian towns where Palestinians who are Israeli citizens reside, have settlements all around them, and all of these settlements are not considered settlements because they're within what is considered proper Israel, but these are all built on Palestinian land. And Palestinian towns within Israel are shrinking and getting smaller, their resources are declining, and their landmass is disappearing. So we have a larger issue here.

And, you know, I protest, others protest. Of course, Bil'in, where I was arrested last time—quite brutally, I have to say—is, has become the Mecca of the nonviolent resistance, and people from all over the world come and visit there. Yet the Israeli army shows up. They shoot amounts of tear gas that are obscene. They shoot shot grenades at point blank, pointing them at people. And then, of course, I stood there, and I was talking, or at least trying to talk, to one of the commanders, and at one point he got angry, pushed me around and then proceeded to detain me and arrest me. But, you know, my story is nothing. I get to go home at the end of the day. We have thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the vast majority of whom have never been charged with acts of violence, which of course represents the Palestinian resistance. And these are the people that we have to be talking about. These are the people who have to be released.

The siege on Gaza has to be lifted. If Israel doesn't like the Qassam rockets coming out of Gaza, Israel knows what to do, because this is a response to the Israeli occupation. This is the response to the Israeli brutal oppression of Palestinians for almost seven decades. So, again, it's important to put this in perspective and not to treat this like it's an isolated issue. And again, Mohammed Omer is 45 minutes away from me, and he has no access to clean drinking water. Families don't know what to do once the bombs start falling. They have no shelters. They can't escape. Israel has locked them in this massive prison. And I don't know what kind of expectation there is that the Palestinians would just sit there in Gaza and not respond, and not respond with any kind of violence. You know, being as ineffective as these Qassam rockets are, at least they're some expression of anger and some desire to be noticed.

AMY GOODMAN: We're also joined in Los Angeles by Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, author of the new book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Ali, can you talk about the situation at this point—the soldiers amassed along the border of Gaza right now, the bombing that's going on of Gaza, Israel setting up this operation—they call it Protective Edge, saying that they are responding to rocket fire coming from Gaza?

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

ALI ABUNIMAH: Good morning, Amy. I'm very happy to hear the context and analysis of both Mohammed Omer and Miko because this has been totally missing from the mainstream media in this country and even, sadly, from progressive media for so long. But I think it's so important to respond to this Israeli claim, which we heard in the news at the beginning of the show from the Israeli spokesperson, Peter Lerner, that Israel is just responding. And this talking point is repeated ad nauseam by Israel and its apologists in the media. I mean, just look at the numbers from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on protection of civilians. The reason this is happening now, in addition to everything we heard, is that the number of Palestinians killed by Israel since the start of this year is about triple the number in the same period as 2013. And it's grim to talk about human beings in terms of statistics, but just up to the end of June—so, not even including the horrifying slaughter that we just heard about from Mohammed and that has occurred in the past few days—until the end of June, Israel had killed 31 Palestinians since the beginning of the year. That compares with 11 in the same period last year, so three times as many Palestinians killed, 1,463 injured. Why do we never hear that? We only hear about the rockets coming, which Miko talked about.

And this is happening, Amy, at a time when there is unprecedented—and I would even say genocidal—incitement against Palestinians. For example, the statement from the up-and-coming political star in Israel, Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party, which is in Netanyahu's ruling coalition, who actually issued a call for genocide of the Palestinian people on June 30th. She declared that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy. And she justifies their destruction, including, quote, "its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure." And she said that Israel would be justified to slaughter Palestinian mothers because they give birth to little snakes. I wish I could say that that was an extreme or outlying expression of opinion in Israel, but she got something like 5,000 likes for that statement on Facebook. And we're hearing this kind of incitement from Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, from every—virtually every Cabinet minister, and of course the chief inciter, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now pretending to be against violence, pretending to console the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the latest lynching victim of Israel and its occupation.

AARON MATÉ: Well, Ali, I wanted to get your response to Netanyahu. Speaking over the weekend, he vowed to punish those responsible for Mohammed Abu Khdeir's death.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers. And that's the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don't. We condemn them, and we put them on trial, and we'll put them in prison.

AARON MATÉ: That's Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to punish the killers of Mohammed Khdeir, but in doing so, also drawing, Ali, some sort of moral high ground. Your response?

ALI ABUNIMAH: Where does one begin with that? This is the leader of a government that has killed more than 1,400 Palestinian children, including this year seven, 1,400 just since 2000. And Israel sanctifies these murderers. It treats them as heroes. It incites them. Netanyahu is the chief inciter. And the notion that Israel brings them to justice is just absurd. There is no case, in practically in living memory, of an Israeli being brought to justice for the killing of any of these 1,400 children. On May 15th, two Palestinian children were shot dead by snipers, and it was caught on camera. Everyone saw it. They were hunted like animals. It's almost two months later. Has anyone been arrested? Do we know the names of the killers? Well, I'll tell you, Israel knows the names of the killers, but they're not telling, because they've placed a gag order, a censorship order, on that case.

The only reason Netanyahu was forced to make that cynical statement is because of the media attention that the case of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was lynched to death, who was burned alive, got—and his cousin Tariq Abu Khdeir, a U.S. citizen, brutally tortured on television. I mean, a question for Netanyahu I wish somebody would ask—Tariq Abu Khdeir—and I understand we're going to hear from his aunt in a minute—was tortured on camera. We saw it. He was tortured. He was fined and put under house arrest, the 15-year-old boy, never having been charged with anything and having been tortured. Have the torturers who beat him up been arrested? Has Israel even announced that they were suspended from their positions? Of course it hasn't. Does Israel go and demolish the homes of Israeli soldiers or settlers who attack Palestinians? And the figures from the U.N., by the way, show that attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their properties have been going through the roof in recent years. And this is all unchecked violence.

Netanyahu incites. The incitement starts from the top. And it's not just against Palestinians. It's against Africans. It's against what they call leftists, anyone who criticizes their government. The chant is—the chant in the streets of Israel, in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem, in other places, is "death to the Arabs, death to leftists." And the incitement comes from Netanyahu.

AMY GOODMAN: Ali Abunimah, we want to thank you very much for being with us. Miko Peled is still with us in Jerusalem, the Israeli peace activist and writer whose father, Matti Peled, was an Israeli general, military governor of the Gaza Strip and member of Parliament. Miko Peled is the author of The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Before we go to Tariq Abu Khdeir's aunt in Tampa, Florida—Tariq, by the way, grew up in Tampa, born in Baltimore, the young man who was beaten by Israeli soldiers in East Jerusalem—I wanted to ask you, Miko Peled, about your own family's journey. Your father, a famous Israeli general and considered Israeli war hero, ended up saying that Israel should withdraw from the territories back to the 1967 line. Why the change?

MIKO PELED: I think the change came as a result—and again, I tried to record it in the book, in The General's Son—as a result of, first, his experience as military governor in Gaza in the mid-1950s, when Israel occupied Gaza, and then when he saw that by occupying the entire country, and Israel is—it will, in fact, become a binational state and will have to enforce a brutal military force and a brutal military occupation upon the people, who are inevitable to—who will inevitably resist, because we are going to be a foreign occupation. So he felt that the right thing to do—and he said this immediately after the 1967 war was over, in the very first meeting of the Israeli high command—that we now have an opportunity to solve the Palestinian problem peacefully by negotiating with the Palestinians based on what we know today is called the two-state solution—a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.

As he was saying these very words—this is the very last day, the very last moments of the 1967 Six Day War—the Israeli military was already forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians out of the West Bank, destroying cities and towns and villages in the West Bank, and building massively for Israeli Jews only in the West Bank, which is exactly what they did prior to 1967 in the rest of Palestine, which had become Israel. So, he retired from the military a year later, and he dedicated his life, or the remainder of his life, the second half of his life, I should say, to this idea of an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The problem was that nobody on the Israeli side was interested. In terms of Israeli thinking, in terms of the Zionist ideology, which is the foundation of the state of Israel, there cannot be any compromise on the land of Israel because it belongs to the Jewish people. You know, the law in Israel says that over 90 percent or 95 percent of the land in Israel is only—only Jews are permitted to purchase land on over 95 percent of the land here. So Palestinians, who are the indigenous people of the land here, are prohibited from buying, purchasing land here, if they like. So, this is a reality that he was trying to combat, but, of course, on the other side, there was nobody listening. In terms of Israeli thinking, Zionist thinking, the land is ours; the Palestinians are either going to have to live with Israeli domination, or they can leave.

And what, in essence, has happened is, Israel has given Palestinians two choices: either to completely surrender or to resist. And this has been going on for some almost seven decades. And now we see the results of that. But the things, the very things that he said in that very—on that very last day of the war in 1967, every single thing that he said actually came to be. Israel is a brutal occupying power. It is not a Jewish state. It is a binational state, because Israel governs the entire country, and there are two nations that live here, albeit in an apartheid regime where one nation has all the rights and the other nation is subservient and lives under a terrible, oppressive regime.


MIKO PELED: And this is exactly what he was hoping to avoid.

AMY GOODMAN: Miko Peled is joining us from Jerusalem, again, an Israeli peace activist who was just arrested in the West Bank. His father, the famous Israeli war hero and general, Matti Peled, who ultimately called for the very land he had been responsible for capturing, among other Israeli military, saying that it should—Israel should withdraw.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

In Wake of Murders, Israel Considers More Settlements and Strikes on Gaza

Friday, 04 July 2014 11:16
By Jessica Desvarieux, The Real News Network | Video Interview


More at The Real News


Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Russian journalist with The Real News Network reporting on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Born in the Soviet Union, Tarachansky grew up in a settlement in the occupied West Bank. She is the director of On the Side of the Road, a documentary on Israel's biggest taboo - the events of 1948 when the state was created. Tarachansky previously worked as a Newsroom Producer in The Real News' Washington D.C. and Toronto Headquarters, and her work appeared on BBC, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Canadian Dimension Magazine and others.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. His latest book is titled The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Based in Chicago, he has written hundreds of articles on the question of Palestine in major publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and for Al Jazeera.


JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

The Washington Post is reporting intense clashes in East Jerusalem after a 16-year-old Palestinian was kidnapped and murdered in East Jerusalem. This comes a couple of days following the lifting of the gag order on the Israeli press regarding the killing of three Israeli teenagers almost three weeks ago.

Here to give us an update on the situation in Israel and Palestine are our two guests.

Lia Tarachansky is a Real News Middle East correspondent. She's also the director of the documentary On the Side of the Road.

And also joining us is Ali Abunimah. He's the cofounder and executive director of the Electronic Intifada and author of the new book The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

Thank you both for joining us.



DESVARIEUX: So, Lia, let's start off with you. What has been the response thus far in Israel to the latest news that a Palestinian teenager was murdered, and likely as a revenge killing of the three Israeli teenagers?

TARACHANSKY: So I think for context it's important to say that yesterday, before the teenager was kidnapped and killed, there was a right-wing protest in Jerusalem at the entrance to Jerusalem that turned violent against the police, where neofascists, led by the former member of Knesset Baruch Marzel basically called for revenge on Palestinians.

At night, the teenager was kidnapped in Beit Hanina. He was murdered. And he was found in a forest just southwest of Jerusalem, close to the village of Deir Yassin, which is the place where there was the biggest massacre in the 1948 War. Today, since it was made public that the teenager was murdered, there have been rights all over East Jerusalem, and especially in the refugee camp of Shuafat, where two photojournalists from ActiveStills were badly injured by Israeli defense forces. One was shot in the face, and the other one was shot in the arm.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

DESVARIEUX: Okay. So, Alia, you just heard Lia talk about the protest, that right-wing fascist group. But also the president--the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, he called for revenge as well. Can you talk a little bit about that? What was your response?

ABUNIMAH: Well, yes, you know, the killing of this Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, cannot be a surprise to anyone who has been observing the situation. In fact, there have been a number of marches in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv of people marching through the streets in large numbers chanting "death to the Arabs". Israeli social media is flooded with people calling for revenge, calling for blood, calling for Arabs to be exterminated. Israeli soldiers are posting images of themselves online in large numbers carrying signs calling for blood and calling for revenge.

And this is fed from the Israeli leadership at the top, as you said. Netanyahu first used the word "revenge" in response to the killing of the three teenagers. He'd said that--he'd Tweeted that the devil himself had not invented a revenge appropriate for the taking of the lives of those teenagers.

So this has been the mood and the atmosphere, and the Israeli government and army have been the role model, because for weeks they have been collectively punishing Palestinians, ransacking homes, arresting hundreds of people, killing at least six Palestinians. And so that sends a clear message to Israeli society that all Palestinians are fair game. And that, sadly, may be what has happened here. It's unclear.

But the other really disturbing thing is, you know, how will we ever find out the truth when the Israeli police and the Israeli army are on the side of the settlers, not on the side of the victims?

DESVARIEUX: Let's turn and talk about that gag order that was placed on the Israeli press. Lia, I want to find out what do we actually know about that gag order. Why was it put in place?

TARACHANSKY: Yeah. So three days after the kidnapping, and, actually, before that, on the second day after the kidnapping, the Israeli security service had already known the names of the suspects, which were released 17 days later, more than two weeks later. They already knew who the suspects were. They already knew about the burned-down car and, according to GPS tracking, had already known the location of the iPhone of one of the teenagers.

There was also a form phone call that was made by one of the teenagers to the Israeli police that had the recording of that phone call, where you can hear gunshots. So it was very clear from the beginning that the Israeli intelligence had a lot of information, which on the third day they shared with the Israeli press. A number of senior journalists heard the reporting and were privy to the information that these teenagers were most likely dead.

There was also a number of other things that happened that really hinted at the fact they were dead. The first thing is that the West Bank is one of the most monitored places on earth. There it is a monitored to such a level that when, for example, Palestinians request a permit to be transferred to a hospital inside Israel, they get interrogated, and in their interrogations, the interrogators often ask them about paintings in their houses, about their cousins' weddings, intimate details of their lives. So in a place like that, to hold three hostages for 17 days is nearly impossible.

Another indicator is the fact that no Palestinian faction has taken responsibility for this action and that the Israeli government, unlike in every other incident, hasn't released any evidence to why it's targeting Hamas. Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister again and again, in every public sphere, in every situation he could, pointed a finger--I'm not saying that they know for sure that Hamas is responsible, but not presenting any public evidence.

Finally, the gag order was lifted when the bodies of the teenagers were found. And this revealed that the gag order was meant to protect the information of any sources that they had. In fact, the gag orders was put in place in order to protect a systemic level mishandling by the police and the army of the kidnapping.

So, today the Israeli press was flooded with information about this, especially Haaretz, that reported that on that night, the teenager called the police, and the phone call lasted two minutes and nine seconds. But after the police officers heard gunshots, they didn't do anything with the phone call.

Another father of one of the teenagers suspected that his son was kidnapped because he went missing, and he ended up calling the police and the army 54 times. He spent six and a half hours on the phone trying to get somebody's attention, and the Israeli army only got involved at six o'clock in the morning, while the kidnapping took place at 10:20 PM the night before.

And just to say a quick note about Ali Abunimah's previous statement, last night the Israeli cabinet of ministers had an emergency meeting where the minister of economy, Naftali Bennett, was calling for extending the death penalty to not only include Holocaust perpetrators, but also what he called terrorist murderers. So anybody accused of killing in a political context should be extended the death penalty to as well. He also called, alongside the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, for a mass bombardment campaign and invasion and reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, to which the minister of defense actually objected. The minister of defense said that what you're suggesting will lead to an escalation we will not be able to control, even to war. Do we really want a war with Gaza at this point? The minister of economy rebutted with, in the end we're going to have a war with Gaza anyway, and it's better that we're the ones instigating it. The minister of defense then proposed that the best revenge for the killing of these settlers is to start a mass construction campaign in the West Bank to create more settlements, to create territorial contiguity throughout the West Bank, which of course means building in the contentious E1 area, where an outpost was built in revenge to the killings just a few days ago.

DESVARIEUX: Ali, you just heard Lia's reporting on what's going on there in Israel. What's your response to all this?

ABUNIMAH: Well, my question is: where does this all end? We have an out-of-control Israel, which, you know, is--the scope of debate, as Lia describes it accurately, is between steal more land or bomb more Palestinians. And the likelihood is that they will end up doing both. And there seems to be no internal breaks that can change the disastrous course Israel is headed on. And there is also no international peace process. I mean, the peace process that collapsed was a sham anyway and served as a cover for ongoing Israeli colonization.

So the question is: what can change the direction? Even if calm or relative calm returns to Jerusalem or the West Bank in the next few days, it will only be temporary before the next disastrous event. And who knows where this will lead? So really something has to change. And all that I see on the horizon now that really gives hope is the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement to raise the price for these Israeli policies of collective punishment, of land confiscation, to make it--you know, I mean, Palestinians are killed without consequence. They can be killed. Nobody says, find the perpetrators. I mean, just this year, six, now seven Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli soldiers. It's suspected that the seventh was killed by settlers, and nobody is asking internationally, nobody is--you know, Obama is not demanding that the killers be brought to justice.

So, you know, I think it's very important that people understand that waiting will not produce peace. We need to intervene in the form of boycott, divestment, and sanctions to change the direction and to end this cycle of horror and tragedy.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. We'll certainly be keeping track of this story on The Real News with reports on the ground from Lia. And, Ali, we'd love to have you back on. Thank you both for joining us.

ABUNIMAH: Thank you.

TARACHANSKY: Thank you for having me.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 5 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 3 years ago

The Israeli Defense Force is a modern military organization with around 178k active duty personnel,who are equipped with all of the most modern lethal and non lethal military equipment.The IDF has a reserve force of about 400K reserve personnel,and no expense is spared in the training and equipment of all of the Israeli soldiers.Their adversary is around 2K male children and teenagers with rocks.Everything the IDF has been able to do thus far has not been able to vanquish this world class group of rock throwing children.To be fair,it must be acknowledged that these rock throwing children have held the World Title for 3 decades,having demonstrated incredible accuracy and point-scoring ability that is second to none,in single effort,doubles and teams.The IDF has long been less than enthusiastic about this conflict,but they are required to continue by the policies of the Israeli government.There are signs that Israelis are bored with the continuing conflict and hope to end it by exterminating or expelling all non Jewish residents in the contested areas.That's not the same as winning,but everything the IDF does with regard to Palestinians is a War Crime.One Final Solution to the problem is what the People of Israel want.They should be careful what they wish for.

[-] 5 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 3 years ago

IMHO.The People of Israel are completely out of touch with reality.As are the American People for supporting and paying for the Genocidal projects in Israel and here at home.

[-] 4 points by Nevada1 (5843) 3 years ago


[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

The Periodic Slaughter of Palestinians

Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:09
By Lawrence Davidson, Consortium News | News Analysis


As the Israelis once more inflict collective punishment in Gaza (a tactic which happens to constitute a war crime), it is time to consider the mind-set behind their repeated violent and sadistic behavior. One way to do so is to listen to the rationalizations they use, also repeatedly, to justify their actions.

Among the many rationalizations offered by Israeli leaders for their violent behavior is the assertion that the Arabs, and Palestinians in particular, “only understand force.” If you do not use force against them they interpret its absence as a sign of weakness and this only encourages them to stand against the Zionist state.

This notion that the Arabs only understand force is one of the holdover stereotypes of a mostly, but obviously not completely, bygone age of imperialism.When it comes to the Israelis, this persistent myth about the need to employ force against the Arabs is mixed up with their own post-Holocaust determination to “never again” react to a threat passively. They believe that sort of reaction is what killed millions of European Jews, and so it is no longer psychologically acceptable.

The core problem with these lines of thought is that they are seriously misleading – both in terms of Arab/Palestinian perceptions and European Jewish behavior.

Since coming into existence in 1948, Israel has attacked Palestinian individuals and infrastructure thousands of times. Israeli conventional wisdom would claim that this has been done in self-defense and to dissuade the Palestinians from future attacks.

The self-defense rationale is misleading because Israelis have, from the beginning, been acting offensively: most of what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories was taken violently and then ethnically cleansed of most of its Arab inhabitants with the ongoing goal of setting up a religiously exclusive state. Palestinian violence has always been a reaction to Israeli aggression.

The argument that harsh retaliation against Palestinian acts of resistance would dissuade them from further resistance (that is, the Palestinians “only understand force”) proved long ago to be false. It has never worked, and yet too many Israelis have clung tenaciously to this lie (a small minority, such as the Israeli journalist Gordon Levy, know the lie for what it is and bravely keep proclaiming the truth).

Why has the lie persisted so long? Well, there is the old adage that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a form of insanity, but perhaps that is a bit too superficial for the case at hand.

One reason for Israel’s repetitive violence is that if Israelis admit it is a tactical failure and desist, they might have to negotiate a genuine peace treaty with the Palestinians. Many will immediately say that they have, repeatedly, tried to negotiate while always coming up against Palestinian intransigence.

However, if one takes a close and objective look at these efforts at negotiation, one finds that they are facades or false fronts behind which we find Israeli intransigence. As the liberal Zionist M. J. Rosenberg has pointed out, the Israelis have never negotiated in good faith.

When the Palestinians react to Israel’s bad faith, the Israelis break off negotiations and blame the Palestinians. Israel then returns to its pattern of repetitive violence.

In truth, negotiating in good faith means compromising Israel’s ambition to settle all of the land of Palestine, and that is something the hard-core Zionists will not do. As a consequence it is not the Israelis, but the Palestinians who have lacked a partner who will negotiate responsibly.

Engrained Racism

Another reason for the repetitive violence is that once Israel has raised several generations of citizens to believe that the Palestinians are implacable enemies who “only understand force,” it becomes politically difficult to change the message despite its elemental falseness.

The myth of the impossibility of negotiating with the Palestinians is believed by so many Israelis that if a politician started advocating a genuine compromise, he or she would be marginalized or worse. Remember the fate of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who almost certainly was not operating in wholehearted good faith toward the Palestinians but was assassinated anyway because of the fear that he was moving in that direction.

Finally, there is the connection the Israelis make between giving up their violence and appearing weak. Yet given their overwhelming superiority in weaponry and the fact that its repeated use has destroyed Palestinian society without stopping Palestinian attacks, why be concerned that switching to non-violent tactics, such as good faith negotiating, would signal weakness?

My guess is that the Israelis aren’t really afraid that the Palestinians would interpret things this way. The Israelis are concerned that they themselves would feel that they would be replicating the alleged passivity of European Jews in the face of the Nazi onslaught.

In other words, the Israeli fear of showing weakness is not an attitude that references outside groups. It references only the Israeli concern for their own self-image. It is the fear of seeing themselves as akin to European Jews passively going to the gas chambers that stands as the greatest psychological barrier to an Israeli decision to halt their repetitive violence.

As noted above, this is so despite the fact that their interpretation of European Jewish behavior is historically misleading. For hundreds of years Europe’s Jews faced discrimination and persecution that periodically turned violent. These episodes of violence, known as pogroms, were murderous but short-lived.

The Jewish communities learned that if they kept their heads down and allowed the storm to wash over them, their casualties were less. They learned this not just by being passive, but by comparing such behavior with the consequences of active resistance.

When in the Twentieth Century the Nazis’ anti-Semitism emerged, most of the Jewish leadership interpreted it as yet another episode of pogroms, and they reacted to it in the manner that history had taught them would result in the least harm. Of course, they were wrong. The Nazis were a qualitatively different sort of enemy. But the Jews of Europe only discovered this when it was too late.

Still, there were plenty of episodes of active Jewish resistance ranging from concentration camp revolts to the battle of the Warsaw ghetto. Unfortunately, the Israelis and most other Zionists forget about this history and condemn Europe’s Jews for being shamefully passive in the face of mortal danger.

Thus was born the slogan “never again.” This state of mind also encouraged the Zionists to see the Palestinians, and indeed all Arabs, as latter-day Nazis to be repeatedly vanquished with repetitive violence.

The Future

The Israelis would expel or kill a majority of the Palestinians left in their homeland if the world let them. Israel would do so not only because it would clear the way for Jewish settlement of all of Palestine, but also because it would allow the Israelis to feel psychologically redeemed – redeemed from the allegedly sinful passivity displayed by the victims of the Holocaust.

The consequences of this state of mind are, of course, catastrophic – first and foremost for the Palestinians, who suffer death and destruction for their justified resistance to oppression. The Zionists see them as latter-day Nazis but in truth they resemble the resisters in the Warsaw ghetto. And, if that rings true, then who do the Israelis now resemble?

That point leads us to ask what are the consequences of Israeli behavior for the Jews and Judaism? After all, Israel claims to represent world Jewry. So, the consequences of persecuting the Palestinians have been, are and will continue to be disastrous to the reputation of Jews and Judaism.

In relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are now three categories of Jews: a) those who have publicly taken a stand opposing Israel’s behavior; b) those who publicly support Israel’s behavior and its rationalizations; and c) those who stand aside, try to ignore what is going on, and just carry on with their lives.

Whatever the people or situation, this last category is usually the largest. It is also the category that concerns me the most for, unbeknownst to many of these Jews, their wellbeing is being used falsely to justify the policies of a habitually violent state and its racist ambitions.

But there are intimations that this largest group of Jews is becoming conscious of Israel’s crimes and this is a welcome and necessary beginning. The next question is what actions, if any, will consciousness bring?

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Israel Inflicts Illegal Collective Punishment on Gaza

Monday, 14 July 2014 14:58
By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis


Israel has commenced full-scale warfare on the people of Gaza. The recent tensions began about six weeks ago when Israeli forces abducted 17 Palestinian teenage boys in the occupied West Bank. Then, on June 12, three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the southern West Bank; Israel blamed Hamas. After the three youths were found dead, a group of Israelis tortured and killed a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem. Finally, on July 7, Israel launched a large military operation dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" in the Gaza Strip.

During the past week, Israel has killed 162 Palestinian civilians and counting, including 34 children. In addition to more than 1,200 Israeli airstrikes, Israel has launched a ground invasion of Gaza. Israel attacked a center for the mentally and physically disabled in Beit Zahiya, killing three patients and a nurse. In addition, Israel has stepped up demolitions of Palestinian homes, and administrative detentions of Palestinians without charge or trial.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA) reported that 77 percent of the people Israel has killed in Gaza were civilians. Although Hamas has launched about 1,000 rockets into Israel in the past week, no Israelis have been killed.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed alarm at the Israeli military operations as well as the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. "For its part, the Government of Israel must take all possible measures to ensure full respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack, during the conduct of hostilities, as required by international humanitarian law. In all circumstances, they must avoid targeting civilians," she said. In light of "deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," Pillay continued, "serious doubt [has been raised] about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

The principle of distinction forbids deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects. The proportionality principle forbids disproportionate and excessive civilian casualties compared to the claimed military advantage gained in the attack. Precaution requires that measures be taken in advance to ensure compliance with the principles of distinction and proportionality, to minimize incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects, and requires taking all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of warfare.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Collective Punishment by Israel

Headlines in the mainstream media falsely portray an equivalence of firepower between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. But Israel's use of force greatly exceeds that of the Palestinians, and the asymmetric warfare continues to escalate. The Obama administration and Congress have condemned the rocket fire into Israel by Hamas and the "deliberate targeting of civilians." But Washington says Israel has a right to defend itself, justifying Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza and blaming Hamas, while minimizing Israel's role in creating and escalating the violence.

Israel's overwhelming use of military force constitutes collective punishment, which is a war crime. The laws of war, also known as international humanitarian law, are primarily found in the Geneva Conventions. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a party, specifically forbids collective punishment. It says, "No protected person [civilian] may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed . . . Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians in Operation Protective Edge constitutes a deliberate policy to punish the entire population of Gaza. Since the Palestinians concluded a unity agreement between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza in June, Israel has stepped up the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, noted that Israel broke off the peace talks with the Palestinians before the formation of the Palestinian unity agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Hamas for the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teens in order to discredit the new Palestinian unity agreement. In what amounts to a catch-22, Netanyahu has cynically stymied the peace negotiations because, he said, there was no unified voice to speak for the Palestinians. But now that the Palestinians have a unity agreement, Netanyahu is driving a wedge between Fatah and Hamas in an effort to justify and maintain Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

The 140 square-mile Gaza Strip, home to 1.7 million people (half of whom are children), is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It is often described as the world's largest "open air prison," as Israel maintains a tight blockade, restricting all ingress and egress. Since mid-2013, unemployment has dramatically increased and delivery of basic services has decreased. More than 90 percent of the water in Gaza is unsuitable for drinking. The health system is close to collapse, according to the World Health Organization. Last year, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reported, "Palestinian children arrested by [Israeli] military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture." The committee also concluded that Israel's "illegal long-standing occupation" of Palestinian land, continued expansion of "unlawful" Jewish settlements, construction of the barrier wall into the West Bank [found by the International Court of Justice 10 years ago to violate international law], and the confiscation of land and demolition of homes and livelihoods "constitute severe and continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children and their families."

After Israel's 2008 to 2009 Operation Cast Lead, in which nearly 1,400 Palestinians (82 percent of whom were civilians) and 13 Israelis were killed, a UN Human Rights Council report by a commission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone concluded, "Disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy [by Israel]."

In its 2009 report, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) found, "During Operation Cast Lead no type of property was left untouched: residences, hospitals, schools, mosques, factories and agricultural fields were demolished by the IDF."

Israel, according to PCATI, employed "a coherent strategy that incorporated two major elements into the planning of Operation Cast Lead: 1) The implementation of the 'Dahiye Doctrine,' the principal tenet of which was to cause intentional suffering to civilians so that they would bring pressure to bear on those who were fighting against the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], and 2) The 'No Risk' policy, which placed absolute priority on preventing harm to IDF soldiers, even at the cost of greater danger to Palestinian civilians." Israel is apparently pursuing the same policy in Operation Protective Edge.

In 2013, Falk said, "the people of Gaza have endured the unendurable and suffered what is insufferable for six years. Israel's collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza must end today." He added, "Israel has the responsibility as the Occupying Power to protect the civilian population."

"In circumstances of prolonged occupation and state terrorism," Falk observed, "Hamas is entitled to claim rights of resistance, although their precise contours are not clearly established by international law. Hamas is certainly entitled to act in self-defense within the constraints of international humanitarian law."

International Reaction

On July 12, 2014, the UN Security Council issued a unanimous statement calling for an immediate ceasefire and "de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire." That ceasefire ended eight days of bombings of Gaza by Israel that killed 140 Palestinians, and rocket attacks by Hamas along the border that killed five Israelis. In its July 12 statement, the Council expressed "serious concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the protection and welfare of civilians on both sides" and called for respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.

Hanna Amira, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the West Bank, said of the Council's statement, "This announcement deals with the oppressor and the victim in the same way; it is a general call to end the fighting, without setting any mechanism to end the fighting. What is needed is an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza."

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee has called on "international governments to impose a two-way arms embargo immediately and to suspend bilateral agreements until Israel fully complies with international law." Indeed, US military aid to Israel also violates US law. The Human Rights and Security Assistance Act requires that the United States halt all military aid to Israel because the latter has engaged in a consistent pattern of gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.

"Because collective punishment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, [the Palestinian BDS National Committee] urge[s] the international community to pressure Israel to end its all-out military assault aimed against the total population of Gaza, open the Rafah crossing [between Egypt and Gaza] permanently and heed our call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions." Organizations such as the Bill Gates Foundation, the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Methodist Church are divesting from companies that profit from Israel's occupation, including Hewlett Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.

"Israel is able to act with utter impunity because of the military, economic and political support it receives from governments around the world," according to Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee. Indeed, Israel would be unable to carry out its policies of aggression in Gaza without the support of the United States, which gives Israel more than $3 billion per year.

The United States should demand an immediate ceasefire from both Israel and Hamas. The US government should condemn Israel's escalation, bombing and collective punishment of civilians just as forcefully as it has condemned Hamas' firing of rockets. The Gaza blockade and limitations on freedom of travel of Gazans should be lifted and Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories should be ended.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22863) 3 years ago

Map of Palestine, 1922:


Palestinian Refugee Map, 1948:


Palestinian Refugee Map, 1967:


Maps tell a big story. These are from Dartmouth University.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

The Silent Power of Boycotts and Blockades

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:32
By Kanya D'Almeida, Inter Press Service | News Analysis


Cape Town - Peruse a few reports on global military expenditure and you will not be able to shake the image of the planet as one massive army camp, patrolled by heavily weaponised guards in a plethora of uniforms.

Last year, the world spent about 1.76 trillion dollars on military activity according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The year before, arms sales among SIPRI's 'Top 100' companies touched 410 billion dollars. It is estimated that 1,000 people die from gun violence every single day.

But scattered amongst the barracks of this planetary war zone are scores of white flags, wielded daily by the many millions of people engaged in nonviolent resistance to the forces that threaten their existence.

Nearly 120 of these peace activists are currently assembled in Cape Town's City Hall, for the quadrennial meeting of the 93-year-old War Resister's International (WRI), a global network of activists from far-flung regions fighting on every imaginable front, from anti-trafficking in Australia to peace and reconciliation in Rwanda.

Returning to the very pulpit from where he led the historic 1989 March for Peace, Archbishop Desmond Tutu addressed the forum's participants Saturday night by invoking memories of the long and bloody struggle against apartheid.

"Take our thanks back to your countries," he told the audience, "even the poorest of which stood ready to receive South African exiles and refugees." Drawing on the conference's theme 'Small Actions – Big Movements: the continuum of nonviolence', he urged greater collaboration between disparate movements, in order to find strength in unity.

"The U.S. Command in Africa (AFRICOM) has now expanded to approximately 2,000 troops on the continent, covering 38 countries," WRI Conference Coordinator Matt Meyer told IPS.

"With almost no money but a lot of passion and an understanding of the need for unity in the face of militarism, violence, and a re-colonisation of the land, we brought together people from every continent and 33 African countries to say: 'We will continue to resist. We will build a beautiful new tomorrow.'"

Running from Jul. 4-8, the gathering offers a bird's eye view of the life-affirming campaigns that often get pushed off front pages in favour of headlines proclaiming death and war.

While not often on the news, the efficacy of the peace movement is being documented elsewhere. Analysing a century's worth of data, the World Peace Foundation found that between 1900 and 2006, nonviolent movements had a 53-percent success rate, compared to a 22-percent success rate for violent movements.

Other tangible successes include the long list of victories recently secured by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, according to Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

With three basic demands (ending the occupation as defined by the 1967 borders; ending Israel's system of legal discrimination against Palestinians; and enforcing the right of return for Palestinian refugees), the civil society initiative calls for the same global solidarity that erupted during the fight against apartheid in South Africa, and urges companies to withdraw their investments from firms that directly profit from the occupation of Palestine.

In the last three years alone, many major pension funds in Europe have divested from Israeli banks, including the 200-billion-dollar financial giant PGGM, the second-largest pension manager in the Netherlands.

"In addition, the 810-billion-dollar sovereign wealth fund of Norway decided this year to pull investments from Israeli firms operating in the West Bank; the Luxembourg Pension Fund followed suit, citing ethical concerns over the building of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

In addition, said Barghouti, "Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, recently divested from the British-Danish-owned G4S, one of the largest private security companies in the world; the United Methodist Church – one of the richest in the U.S. – pulled its 18-billion-dollar fund out of companies operating on occupied Palestinian land; and the Presbyterian church has divested from companies like Caterpillar, HP and Motorola Solutions because of their involvement in the occupation."

With its 15-billion-dollar defense budget, the Israeli government is not taking this lightly, and has identified the BDS movement as a strategic, rather than societal, threat.

"Israel recently shifted overall responsibility for fighting BDS from the ministry of foreign affairs to the ministry of strategic affairs," Barghouti said Monday, "the same ministry that deals with the Iranian threat, and Israel's relationship with the U.S."

Elsewhere, too, authoritarian regimes are recognising the legitimate power of nonviolent resistance. A South Sudanese activist, wishing to be identified only as Karbash A M, told IPS that the Sudanese government in Khartoum has issued a blanket ban on NGOs conducting nonviolence trainings among refugee communities.

But in the face of a political crisis that has claimed tens of thousands of lives since South Sudan declared independence in 2011, Marmoun said, a handful of organisations continue to train hundreds of community leaders and youth activists in the tactics of nonviolence, even as a wave of arms and ammunition threatens to drown the country.

Documenting over 14 case studies of peaceful resistance, the second edition of WRI's Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns, released here Sunday, offers a tip-of-the-iceberg analysis of the proliferation of nonviolent movements around the world, from protests against the Indonesian military in West Papua, to the diaspora solidarity movement for Eritrea.

Recognising a continuum between the moral commitment to nonviolence adopted by Gandhi, the strategic decision to exercise nonviolence in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, and a "willingness to use nonviolent methods [...] but no commitment to avoid low-level physical violence," the Handbook offers practical advice to activists and organisers from Colombia to South Korea and beyond.

Another major development here this week was the founding of the Pan African Network on Nonviolence and Peacebuilding, the first regional initiative of its kind dedicated to connecting African grassroots organisers around nonviolent resistance.

"I am delighted we have been able to give birth to this network here in Cape Town," Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, executive director of the South Africa-based organisation Embrace Dignity – which fights to end sex trafficking and the commercial exploitation of women – told IPS.

"At the last count, 33 African countries are represented in the network, with a 16-member steering committee, each from a different country.

"We are also making an effort to ensure representation from island states like Mauritius and the Canary Islands," she stated, adding that the network will play a crucial role in elevating the voices of civil society on issues of governance, development and corruption.

Experts here say such a network could be hugely important in combating the U.S.' increased military presence in Africa, such as plans to construct a 220-million-dollar Special Operations compound at the base of the U.S.' Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

The actions may be small, but their impacts are felt at the highest level.

"We can now call ourselves the 'three percent people'," Anand Mazgaonkar, a representative of the National Alliance of Peoples' Movements (NAPM) in Gujarat, India, said at a plenary session Monday, "because a recent intelligence report in India has named all of us involved in movements as collectively responsible for a three percent damage to the country's gross domestic product (GDP)."

Visit IPS news for fresh perspectives on development and globalization.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Despite Crackdown, Palestinians Organize for Long-Term Peace

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 09:21
By Bethan Staton, Waging Nonviolence | Report


Conflict has erupted in Israel and Palestine after the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teenagers early last week week, whom the Israelis say were kidnapped by Hamas. The Western media, for its part, has focused on the street battles between young Palestinians and the Israeli military, rushing to print photos of young Palestinian men throwing rocks and of masked Hamas militants armed at a press conference. However, these images are far from the whole story. On the ground Palestinian groups are acting to turn this rage into long-lasting nonviolent organizing.

Last week, the Israeli military sent tanks and troop reinforcements to the border between Israel and the Gaza strip and began heavy airstrikes that have killed at least seven Palestinians — the most recent development in the crackdown on Palestinian life that followed the disappearance of three settler teenagers approximately two weeks ago. Even before the bodies of the teens were found last Monday evening, Israeli had launched a large-scale incursion into West Bank cities, raiding some 2,200 homes, arresting 419 Palestinians and killing at least six.

The discovery of the boys’ bodies, elicited sorrow, fury and — for some Israelis — a desire for revenge. Tuesday evening, crowds of Israelis chanted “death to Arabs” as they stormed through the streets of Jerusalem. The next morning, the body of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khaider, who had been seen being forced into a car the night before, was found in a forest. In many ways, the violence and loss is unsurprising for Palestinians: It is, after all, an everyday reality here. But the intensity of the raids, scale of arrests, and very visible increase in threatened and actual violence from right-wing Israelis means the situation now feels different. For those working in the resistance movements, these are challenging and uneasy times. But they are also far from hopeless.

Jamal Juma, the coordinator of Stop the Wall, a coalition of Palestinian organizations, has experienced crises like these before.

“Stop the Wall started in 2002, in a very difficult and bloody situation,” he said. “We had massacres all over Palestine. But, despite that, we started organizing people in popular resistance.”

“At the moment,” he continued, “we are experiencing very brutal invasions, which remind us of the invasions that happened in 2002. They are sending a strong message to Palestinians: that nothing will be tolerated.”

The response in the streets, Juma maintains, has largely been neither obedient nor violent, but careful: marches and protests rather than “people shooting each other.” When the Israeli army launched Operation Brother’s Keeper last week in Hebron, groups like Youth Against Settlements mobilized by supporting families whose homes had been raided with calls and solidarity visits — essential practical support in the context of enormous isolation and fear.

Next week, beginning on July 9, the Stop the Wall coalition will launch what it hopes will be a broader and more unifying campaign. Scheduled to begin on the anniversary of the International Criminal Court’s decision on the illegality of the separation wall, the campaign will focus on two areas. In Hebron, a city fractured and closed off by Israeli settlements, the aim is explicitly to “lift the siege” through a burst of nonviolent demonstrations. In the Jordan Valley, where full Israeli control and settlement activity mean home demolitions are a constant threat, Palestinians plan to launch the Popular Council to Save the Jordan Valley, which seeks to unite the work of activists working across the region to document violations, coordinate resistance and support in the case of resistance, and mobilize media coverage.

“In the first Intifada we had strong trade unions, strong women’s institutions, youth movements,” Juma says. “These were the main causes of the Intifada, in fact. But now these structures are weak. We need to invest in them, to build them up.”

In recent years, Palestinians have responded to the humanitarian issues like dispossession or eviction, and the broader questions of occupation and colonialism, with a slew of creative tactics. Protests villages like Ein Hijleh, established in an abandoned village in the Jordan Valley, have drawn international media attention. Although the camps themselves are often quickly destroyed, the networks and awareness created by these projects are harder to break.

In Israeli society, too, nonviolent resistance and support for Palestinians still exists. And especially after the alarming violence and frightening racist incitement of the last few days, the awareness of a need for this organizing is stronger than ever. Ruth Edmonds explained to WNV that, while racist and nationalistic Israeli discourse is being amplified by social media, it is clearly on the rise. As a result, she said it’s important that we pay attention to the voices for peace inside Israel that are being ignored.

“It is utterly vital we recognize and pay attention to the voices which do not grab so much attention,” she said. “In Jerusalem over the next few hours there will be a number of vigils organized by various Jewish Israeli organizations to end the violence and racism now, before it gets out of hand.”

Of course, after the events of the past two weeks the appetite and patience for non violent resistance could well be wearing thin for many. The situation on the ground, Juma explained, is “boiling” – and as the temperature rises, it could likely explode. Issa Amro, an organizer with Youth Against Settlements in Hebron, is keenly aware of the difficulty of promoting nonviolent organizing in this context. “Unfortunately, not all of our campaigning works so well,” he said. “The international media continued to focus on just one side, as if settlers were the only civilians.”

The feeling that nonviolent means of resistance is ignored by the world leads to immense disillusionment. In April, for example, Palestinian prisoners embarked on a hunger strike in Israeli jails to protest administrative detention. Despite the fact that detainees — who are effectively being held indefinitely without trial — went on hunger strike for more than 50 days, their plight was largely ignored by the world. Eventually, it came to an end when the Israeli government hurried through a bill that legalized force-feeding.

“We spread the message of nonviolence, but unfortunately the violence people experience does affect us,” Amro said. “A small protest we held was met with tear gas and rubber bullets.”

He explained that movements like Youth Against Settlements are growing, but that violence such as the construction of new settlements inevitably has an effect.

“This operation [by Israel] is a massive barrier to the goal of creating a nonviolent movement in Palestine,” he said. “Israeli authorities are doing this to provoke people.”

To Juma and other organizers, the important thing is that people’s rage at the violence that is inflicted on them get organized into long-lasting movements.

“When 400 people confront the Israeli military in Balata or Ramallah or Shuafat, there’s not a movement behind them, it’s just people defending themselves, reacting to provocations,” he said. “We saw that in the first Intifada. It was a people’s reaction, going to the street and demonstrating. But at some time this needed to be organized. That’s how we need movements to form, through leadership, and through organizing.”

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Florida Teen Beaten by Israeli Police is Cousin of Slain Palestinian


A Tampa, Florida, teenager seen pummeled by Israeli police in a video that has sparked outrage among Palestinians remained in stable condition Saturday, an American consulate representative told NBC News. Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, suffered a broken nose and chin, and injuries to his eyes as a result of Thursday’s altercation with police, his father, Salah Abu Khdeir, told the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Tariq was in Jerusalem to attend the funeral of his 16-year-old cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death following violence that stemmed from the killings of three missing Israeli teenagers.

Tariq was one of six detained by police during violent clashes ahead of Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s funeral. He remains at an Israeli police station and is scheduled to appear in court Sunday, said American consulate representative Joshua Wagner. Israeli police said the video, which shows two officers attacking Tariq while he’s on the ground, is “edited and biased” and that it “does not represent the events.” The Florida chapter of CAIR called for the U.S. State Department to demand that Tariq be released from Israeli custody. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday they are "profoundly troubled by reports that [Tariq] was severely beaten while in police custody." The Israeli Justice Ministry also announced Saturday that they will launch an investigation into the incident, The Jerusalem Post reported.

[-] 3 points by turbocharger (1756) 3 years ago

If Israel bombs the power plant in Gaza as it did three times, and its a public utility, then are the people of Gaza stuck waiting for the skills and tools to show up to fix it afterwards?

Who runs the power plant in Gaza?


[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

"A Terrifying Night in Gaza": Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports on Israeli Ground Invasion

Monday, 21 July 2014 10:46
By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now! | Video Interview


The Israeli military is pushing deeper into Gaza and threatening to "significantly widen" its ground offensive that began on Thursday night. Over the past 11 days, at least 264 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians. The death toll of children is approaching 50, including three teenagers killed today by Israeli tank shelling near the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Israel suffered its second fatality when one of its soldiers was killed in Gaza. Israeli media says the soldier was likely killed by friendly fire. Israel maintains the new ground offensive was needed to target tunnels used by Palestinian militants, but many civilian facilities have been hit, including a media office in Gaza City and the al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, forcing the evacuation of patients. We speak to Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, whose new article for The Nation magazine is "Death and Destruction in Gaza as Israel Launches Ground Invasion."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Israeli military is pushing deeper into Gaza and threatening to "significantly widen" its ground offensive that began Thursday night. At least 25 Palestinians have died and 200 have been injured since thousands of troops stormed into Gaza backed by tanks, bulldozers and warplanes. Israel maintains the new ground offensive was needed to target tunnels used by Palestinian militants, but many civilian facilities have been hit, including a media office in Gaza City and the al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, forcing the evacuation of patients.

AMY GOODMAN: Over the past 11 days, at least 264 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians. The death toll of children is approaching 50, including three teenagers killed today by Israeli tank shelling near the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Israeli suffered its second fatality when one of its soldiers was killed in Gaza. Israeli media says the soldier was likely killed by friendly fire.

The Israeli military said another 18,000 reserve soldiers would be mobilized to join more than 30,000 already called up. This marks Israel’s first major ground invasion of Gaza since Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and ’09, when some 1,400 Palestinians were killed. Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu defended the ground invasion.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: [translated] Since it is impossible to deal with the tunnels only by aerial means, our troops are also dealing with it on the ground. Here, as well, there are no guarantees for total success, but we will do the utmost to achieve the best result.

AMY GOODMAN: Mufeed al-Hasayna, the Palestinian minister of public works and housing, denounced Israeli strikes on the territory and the destruction of homes.

MUFEED AL-HASAYNA: [translated] Israel has deliberately destroyed the homes of civilian residents on top of the heads of children and the elderly in the ugliest of war crimes and amid a [peculiar] silence. More than 800 houses were destroyed completely, and 750 were partially destroyed. And there are more than 16,000 that sustained some damage. And with that, the occupation has turned Gaza and its streets into destruction.

AMY GOODMAN: We go now to Gaza City, where we’re joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous. He has just written a piece for The Nation headlined "Death and Destruction in Gaza as Israel Launches Ground Invasion."

Describe what took place overnight, Sharif.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Amy, it was really a terrifying night for the people of Gaza. After sunset, and just a few hours after the ceasefire that Israel had announced, the Israeli military began to pound Gaza from the land, from air, from the sea, with naval guns, with Apache helicopters, with F-16 strikes. They cut power lines, and Gaza went dark. They fired flares into the air to illuminate the battlefield. It was a constant barrage of bombardment that lasted throughout the night. And then we heard this announcement that they had approved this ground invasion and that they were coming in.

The shelling has continued throughout the day today. Just moments ago, there was a shelling that happened, strikes that took out a residence just next to us. But it appears—you know, people talk of this big ground invasion. From what I understand from people—speaking to people fleeing from the north and the east, that the Israeli military has not pushed in very far—by some accounts, just a few hundred meters into the border. But what they are doing is shelling very intensely from the north and from the east, and pushing people into the city center.

As you mentioned, more children have been killed. I believe the number now—I spoke to the Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson; he says 56 children have been killed. A total of 27—since this invasion was announced last night, 27 people have been killed.

House demolitions continue. I went to the eastern area of Shejaiya, which is just a couple of kilometers from the border with Israel, and a resident there had just had his house destroyed. He said he got a call on his cellphone by an Israeli military officer, who named him by name and said, "You have to leave your house now." He told him that he had five families living with him, that he had 15 children in the house, and that he had no weapons. The officer said he had five minutes to leave. He woke up his family, ushered them out of the house. Then they got hit with a drone strike, followed by an F-16 missile which completely demolished the house. So the Gazans are living also in this Orwellian atmosphere where they get calls and the Israeli officers know their names on their cellphones and tell them to leave.

As you mentioned in the lead, there’s also been attacks on the media. I went this morning to the building that was struck on the eighth floor, which houses the Watania News Agency, a TV production company. It was hit at 7:00 a.m. this morning—there was no warning whatsoever—with a triple strike by an Apache helicopter. Thirty employees of the media production company, who have been sleeping and living there for 24 hours since the war began, doing coverage, were sleeping there. Miraculously, only one of them was injured. They said that this is a very known office and most of them are known, and they don’t understand why it was struck.

And as you mentioned also, there’s been targeting of medical facilities. Again, the Health Ministry spokesperson told me that a hospital in Beit Hanoun has been shelled just a couple of hours ago. It’s housing, he said, up to 400 children who are taking shelter there. And also, during the night, the al-Wafa Hospital, which is a rehabilitation center, came under attack. It had been previously shelled a couple of days earlier and has been shelled repeatedly since then several times. They said that after Iftar, the sunset meal that breaks the fast, they got a call from the Israeli military telling them to leave.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Sharif—

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: The doctor said they couldn’t, that they had severely disabled people.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Sharif, if I could interrupt you for a second, we have—you mentioned the al-Wafa Hospital. We have Dr. Basman Alashi, the executive director of the hospital in Gaza, on the phone.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by trashyharry (3082) from Waterville, NY 3 years ago

The political leaders of Israel had decided to unleash a particularly vicious assault on Gaza.They needed a pretext that would whip Israelis into a Frenzy,Wow-there go the Israelis again,making Lemonade out of Lemons! How fortunate that the exact perfect pretext they needed just happened to happen! It really is a shame Mossad had to kidnap and kill those boys.What they do is award the boys Medals while keeping the truth of the circumstances of their deaths classified.If you think about it,it's the best for Israel for 3 boys of near military age to be sacrificed in this way.Handsome young Israeli boys are incredibly sympathetic pseudovictims,and easier for Mossad agents to murder than female or child settlers.Zionism has become elastic enough to allow the killing of Jews and this has been the case for MANY YEARS NOW.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing

Sunday, 20 July 2014 12:12
By Juan Cole, History News Network | Op-Ed



A horrible video is circulating on social media, of a Palestinian father in Gaza who is bringing a toy to his four year old son, only to find once he enters his home that his son’s head has been crushed by Israeli shrapnel. That is the face of Israel’s current military operation against Gaza to the outside world.

But from the point of view of Israeli hawks, the point of a campaign like the present one against the Gaza Strip is to degrade the military and organizational capabilities of the enemy. They clearly do not care if they thereby kill dozens of women, children and non-combatants (they are). The important thing for them is to accomplish what they see as a narrow military and counter-terrorism objective.

It is a bizarrely ahistorical quest, as though the Israeli leadership lives in a bubble isolated from the demographic and political realities of its neighborhood. They seem to think they are hanging by their fingers from a cliff, that Hamas is prying their fingers loose, and that if only they can push Hamas back, they can go on clinging to the cliff for another period of time, avoiding falling. They don’t seem to realize that if this is actually their situation, it is untenable in the long run. The current campaign will end in failure and likely will help doom the Israeli enterprise over the next few decades.

The Israeli hawks have been trying to destroy Hamas since the late 1990s, when it went from a favored client of the Israeli state (having received support from Tel Aviv in the 1980s to offset the Palestine Liberation Organization) to enemy. The military wing of Hamas launched a vicious campaign of terrorism inside Israel in response to the doubling of the Israeli squatter population on Palestinian land in the 1990s. In the early zeroes, the Israelis conducted a campaign of murder against Hamas leaders, including against civilian party leaders with no operational role. They assassinated Sheikh Yasin, the spiritual leader of the movement, with a rocket fired from a helicopter gunship at his wheelchair as he was issuing from a mosque, killing and injuring people around him, as well. Sheikh Yasin had spoken of the possibility of a decades-long truce with Israel even though he rejected its legitimacy. In his absence, the truce talk rather declined, though Hamas has proved itself willing and able to negotiate long-lasting cease-fires with Israel; most often it has been the Israelis who violated them.

The theory behind the murders of leaders is that leadership is a rare quality and that if you inflict attrition on leaders, you will fatally weaken the organization. Israeli intelligence operatives drew on social science research about how many top-level managers a Western corporation could lose before it collapsed. In societies where kinship systems remain relatively strong, however, you don’t have a hierarchical GM corporate flow chart for leadership, and if you kill someone’s cousin, the republic of cousins comes together for revenge. This whole theory and whole operation vindicates the old saw that Government Intelligence is an oxymoron.

Because of the Israeli attacks on Hamas figures, the party became more popular both in Gaza and the West Bank, and it won the January, 2006, Palestine Council elections in both territories. So I think we can pronounce the serial murders committed by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon an abject failure.

Next the Israelis kidnapped about a third of the democratically elected Palestine National Council and illegally sequestered them and helped the PLO make a coup in the West Bank. They failed, however, to dislodge Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

From 2007 the Israelis put a severe and creepy blockade on the Gaza Strip,in hopes of making Hamas unpopular, figuring people in Gaza would blame it for the consequent collapse of the Gaza economy. This policy is illegal in international law. Israel is the occupying power in Gaza, and the 1949 Geneva Conventions forbid military occupiers from collectively punishing non-combatants among the occupied population. In response, Palestinians in Gaza just got really good at smuggling, developing an extensive tunnel network into the Sinai desert. My guess is that despite the Israeli naval blockade, things must get brought in sometimes by sea, as well.

Among the things they imported were small rockets, with which to harass the Israelis who had moved into the homes in what is now southern Israel that used to belong to the Palestinians of Gaza.

Israel’s 2008-2009 and 2012 episodes of what hawks call “mowing the lawn” in Gaza were aimed, as well, at inflicting attrition on the rocket stock and at killing Hamas leaders and disrupting their institutions. (Since Hamas had been democratically elected in 2006, the police in Gaza had to report to the party after that, so the Israelis bombed the police stations; but most police were not Hamas cadres).

Hamas had received some support from Iran and Syria. My guess is that it has been exaggerated, but it was there. The attempted Syrian revolution and then the outbreak of civil war in Syria posed a problem for Hamas. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is a kindred movement, and it is opposed to the Baath government in Damascus. So Hamas’s dependence on Iran and on Bashar al-Assad was, let us say, awkward.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

When Muhammad Morsi was elected president of Egypt in summer 2012, Hamas gravitated to him as its preferred sponsor and mostly broke with Syria and Iran. Unfortunately for Hamas, Morsi was overthrown in July of 2013, leaving Hamas high and dry and with no sponsor.

Worse, current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the officers who back him really, really hate political Islam. They banned the Muslim Brotherhood, killed over a thousand members in crackdowns on sit-ins, and imprisoned perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 members and sympathizers. Al-Sisi sees Egypt’s security problem with Bedouin and fundamentalists in the Sinai Peninsula as a side-effect of Hamas activities.

So the Egyptians have been unusually energetic in closing off the smuggling routes and tunnels into Gaza from Sinai. This move has, along with the vigorous Israeli blockade, contributed to fuel shortages and water and sewage problems as well as economic distress. At the same time, young Palestinians in Gaza have rebelled against Hamas and some say they want to see it overthrown the way Morsi was.

My guess is that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other Likud leaders see Hamas as unusually vulnerable. In essence, al-Sisi is shoring up Israel’s western flank. The Israeli hawks no doubt believe that if they can destroy, or get Hamas to fire off, large numbers of its rockets, that they can deplete that stock and that al-Sisi will help ensure that it is not replenished, and that Syria and Iran might not be so eager now to help their fair weather friend.

With leaders killed and rockets depleted, the Israeli hard liners probably believe, Hamas may be fatally weakened. At the very least, it will be less able to resist future episodes of lawn mowing in Gaza.

The theory behind this campaign, however, is incorrect. Hamas is perfectly capable of building more rockets, even if they are smaller and have less range than the imported ones. And killed leaders can be replaced by their cousins.

Gaza’s population has grown to about 1.7 million. It has a high rate of population growth and will likely double over the next two or three decades. Egypt will never allow the Palestinians of Gaza to become refugees in the Sinai. In the 2008-09 campaign, when some Palestinians attempted to flee into Egypt, the Egyptian military just shot them. So the Palestinians of Gaza are Israel’s problem, now and in the future. Gaza faces increasingly dire water problems, a recipe for severe future conflict. Israel eventually will face not 4.3 million stateless Palestinians but twice that.

As the living conditions in Gaza deteriorate, and people begin to thirst to death, the international outcry will grow louder. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement will grow, at first mainly in civil society and the business world, but ultimately it will be adopted by governments in the face of an absolutely unacceptable ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

Ironically, the very mechanisms of economic sanction engineered by Israeli and pro-Israel lobbies against Iran and Syria are likely increasingly to be applied to Israel itself. The Israeli economy is fragile and highly dependent on outside trade and on European technology transfer, which could be sanctioned.

All it would take would be for the economy to be hurt enough to make it attractive for more Israelis to emigrate every year than immigrate for a reverse snowball effect ultimately to doom Israel, slowly and over decades. Already, a million first and second generation Israelis live abroad, finding Israel too nervous-making as a place to reside. It may even be that many of them are being counted as Israeli residents by the propagandists in Tel Aviv, so that the figure of 6 million Jews actually in Israel is exaggerated.

The Israeli right wing will likely fail in its attempt to subject Gaza and uproot radicalism there, since the radicalism grows out of the conditions that Israel imposes on the Palestinians. And, it is incurring increasing ill will with its episodic lawn-mowing, since the outside world is unwilling to accept that it was necessary to kill all those women and children and soccer spectators with aerial and naval bombardment.

As in the Bill Murray science fiction vehicle “Groundhog Day,” the Israelis, the Palestinians and the world are doomed to relive these periodic slaughters over and over again, until slowly, inexorably, they further corrupt the Israeli soul and make the Zionist enterprise so unlovely in the eyes of the world that it loses crucial support, and the snowball rolls uphill, getting smaller and smaller.

This article was first published on Professor Cole's blog, Informed Comment.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Gaza Hospitals Can't Cope

Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:39
By Mohammed Omer, Truthout | Report


Gaza City, Sunday, June 20 - As Israeli troops push deeper into Gaza, the intense artillery shelling is shaking all corners of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and Jabalyia. As tank shells hit one family, killing three sleeping children, hundreds of families are fleeing their homes in the dark, under a barrage of missiles from over head.

At Kamal Adwan hospital - around midnight - the 24-hour shift for nurses is more intense than ever. Emergency room and hospital doctors run from case to case, and specialized doctors are constantly called in. Some stay in the hospital, not getting a chance to go home and break their fast or even sleep, during this horrific Ramadan for everyone.

Kamal Adwan hospital is filled to bursting with all types of cases - dismembered human body parts and limbs, and burns to all parts of the body, including bad facial burns on a dead young girl whose two brothers were also killed by an Israeli tank shell while they slept in their bedrooms at Al Nada residential tower. Ambulance crews had to run to dig them out of the rubble.

"It is a girl, not a boy, her name is Walaa," says one of the ambulance crew members.

11-year-old Ahmed Musallam is one of the victims. His face is blackened by burns and smoke. Next to him is his sister Walaa, 12 years old, and brother Mohammed, 14 years old; they are all wrapped in white burial shrouds.

After the first 12 days of the attack, medical crews are unable to cope with the havoc wrought on Gaza by Israel's heavy military. The death toll has now reached 352, with over 2,600 people injured, the majority of whom are civilians, according to United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs. Among the dead are 70 children. At this level of pressure, the hospital staff is exhausted and unable to cope with massive numbers and types of injuries constantly coming in.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health warns that the human and health crisis will worsen still, soon, due to a shortage of medications and medical supplies needed to treat all the patients coming in during the ongoing Israeli offensive, says Deputy Health Minister Dr. Yousef Abuelresh.

In front of Shifa hospital, ambulance sirens call, and more dead and critically injured bodies arrive, as well as ambulance crews bringing bags of body parts to be matched up and identified. All of this is the gruesome result of Israeli air force fighter jets, artillery shelling and navy bombardment.

Abuelresh says stocks of medications and medical supplies are almost totally gone, and some surgical interventions had to be stopped as a result of a lack of vital supplies.

The health ministry announced that constant power cuts are disrupting the functions of life-support machines, explaining why several pieces of equipment are broken and useless.

In the far north of the Gaza Strip, Israeli tank shells hit the administrative department of Beit Hanoun hospital, meaning the victims' only option is now to run to Kamal Adwan hospital now serving Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and Jabalyia.

But Kamal Adwan hospital is now facing major hurdles, where the main electricity generator is broken and, because of Gaza's siege, spare parts are unavailable.

Doctors at Kamal Adwan hospital say they have not seen electricity for 48 hours. One result of this specifically affects the dead: Hospitals that have received hundreds of cases need cold morgues to keep the bodies of the dead until family members and friends are able to get there to say goodbye and take the dead back to their besieged homes and prepare for burial.

In the event that the second generator stops, the hospital operation room will no longer be able to function. "Then it will be too late to act," says the director of the hospital.

Further south in the Gaza Strip, the situation is no different. Nasser Hospital - serving over 200,000 people - is having long power cuts too. Life-support machines are damaged and voltage coming from back-up generators is unreliable, again due to damage done to electricity lines by Israeli bombing.

CT and X-ray scanners in the orthopedic department are all broken and the hospital is left with no alternatives. Hospitals nearby can't receive cases from Nasser Hospital: Gaza European Hospital's CT is also broken, in addition to several essential machines in ICU, according to Dr. Abuelresh.

"Even in a hospital, patients are not safe and secure," says Mohammed Al Jamal, member of the Palestinian Network of Human Rights Defenders. "Hospitals are supposed to be protected places, under international laws, but those who are injured feel very unsafe."

The Palestinian health ministry calls on all international groups to protect ambulance crews and medical workers. Gaza European Hospital has sustained damages to its ICU room roof, courtesy of an Israeli air strike.

In a separate incident, Al-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in east Gaza city came under air strikes for a second time, forcing staff members to evacuate patients outside into the dark night, surrounded by bombs, before the hospital was totally destroyed.

The attacks on these health facilities have received international condemnation from UN and Amnesty International. But Israeli authorities have provided no response.

"Instead of targeting medical facilities in violation of international laws, Israeli forces must protect medics and patients and ensure that wounded people can safely reach medical facilities in Gaza and, when necessary, outside the Gaza Strip," said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

Al Jamal says, after all, that Gaza is essentially occupied - blockaded by land, sea and air - and it's the obligation of the international community to put an end to such crimes and support Gaza's hospitals and population.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

A View From Gaza: "Where Should We Go?"

Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:54
By Y.A.J., Truthout | Report


*Author's name changed to protect safety.

Gaza - It was 9:00 p.m. when suddenly artillery shelling intensified. The terrifying sounds of falling bombs continued hinting that something horrible was going to happen. Earlier in day, leaflets were falling from the sky telling residents of the eastern villages of Khan Younis to evacuate. I was wondering where more than 60, 000 people were supposed to go! Well, most of the people stayed home, hoping that things wouldn't get worse. The Israeli prime minister announced the launch of the ground operation later, which explained the heavy bombardment.

By midnight, people in the targeted areas started to see a strange smoke that had a terrible smell and caused respiratory distress and vomiting. Also at that time, ambulances started to evacuate families, bringing them to the center of Bani Suheila just next to the place where I live. The distance that ambulances had to carry people is less than 2 kilometers, however, bombs were falling in the streets and between the houses.

Also around midnight, my uncles and their families started to arrive in our building, a process that continued until five o'clock in the morning. A few ambulances evacuated thousands of people to a place that - it was announced earlier - would be targeted! But where could we go, or where should we go?

Years ago, during the Cast Lead offensive on Gaza, people were advised to move to UNRWA schools, and of course they were targeted too by the Israeli attacks. Ironically, even UNRWA headquarters in Gaza sustained some damage!

Air strikes and naval shelling continued, of course, to accompany the artillery bombardment and the ground invasion which started in three different areas, eastern villages of Khan Younis, Rafah and northern areas of Gaza.

Over 100 people were killed in the first 48 hours of the ground invasion. Most of them were civilians killed in their homes, backyards and gardens.

The land invasion caused casualties among the Israeli soldiers, with no clear data. These caused an outrage in Israel, reflected in further cruelty in their bombardment. Overcrowded houses in Shejaya and Toffah areas in Gaza were heavily hit, causing tens of casualties, exact numbers are not known yet. As I write this in early morning, 363 Palestinians were killed and 3,000 were injured, not taking into account the casualties in Shejaya since the beginning of the Protective Edge operation.

The ministry of health talks about a huge catastrophe in the area and more terrible news are to come. UNRWA reported that 85,000 people are displaced. Figures are expected to increase dramatically today.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Mowing the Lawn in Gaza

Saturday, 19 July 2014 10:28
By John Feffer, Foreign Policy In Focus | News Analysis


The Palestinians of Gaza are guilty of that new post-Cold War misdemeanor: voting while Muslim. The punishment for this crime has been eight years of economic hardship, international isolation, and periodic Israeli bombardments.

Like the Algerians in 1990 and the Egyptians in 2012, Gazans went to the polls in 2006 and voted for the wrong party. Rather than supporting the secular choice, they cast their ballots for Hamas. Not all Palestinians are Muslim (6 percent or so are Christian). But by opting for the Islamic Resistance Movement—Hamas, for short—Gazans had effectively nullified their own ballots.

It didn't matter that the EU and other institutions declared the elections free and fair. The results were what mattered, and Israel's judgment carried the day. Even though the newly elected government extended an olive branch to both Israel and the United States, the Israeli government didn't consider Hamas a legitimate political actor.

"Israel stated that Hamas were terrorists and Western leaders did not challenge this line," writes Cata Charrett in an excellent piece at Mondoweiss. "On the contrary, they refused to meet diplomatically with Hamas leaders, they cut off all possible financing to the newly elected government, and they supported Israel's complete sanction and seizure of Gazan territory." A direct peace overture to President George W. Bush offering a long-term truce went unanswered.

Voting while Christian or voting while Jewish has not led to similar results. Christian Democrats have won elections in Europe without generating boycotts or warnings about an imminent descent into clerical autocracy. The ultra-religious Shas party has participated in ruling coalitions in Israel without incurring the wrath of the international community.

But Hamas, its critics insist, is different because it is fundamentally anti-democratic. Ditto the Muslim Brotherhood. Even Turkey's Justice and Development Party and Tunisia's Ennahda are suspect, according to those who hold to the dictum that Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatible.

The fear of Islamic fundamentalism taking over the Middle East through the ballot box began in 1990 when the Islamic Salvation Front won 55 percent of the vote in local elections in Algeria. The following year, with the Front poised to win the national elections, the Algerian government banned the party and jailed its leaders, precipitating a civil war that left more than 100,000 people dead. At the time, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Edward Djerejian declared that the U.S. government opposed what it called "one person, one vote, one time." Washington worried about the possibility that Islamist parties would use democratic means to rise to power and then kick away the democratic ladder beneath them.

This prospective outcome prompted the United States to continue supporting its traditionally authoritarian allies in the region. The Arab Spring offered some hope that the United States had changed this policy, with the Obama administration withdrawing its support, albeit reluctantly, from Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak just before he stepped down in early 2011. But the older preference for status-quo strongmen has reasserted itself, as Washington has looked the other way at Nouri al-Maliki's obvious faults in Iraq, continued to support the royal elite in Bahrain, and quickly moved to embrace coup leader Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in Egypt.

Let me be clear: I wouldn't vote for Hamas. And I would rather that the party clearly recognized the right of Israel to exist (just as I would prefer the Republican Party to recognize the right of gay marriage to exist).

But my preferences are beside the point. Hamas represents a large constituency. Many Gazans voted for the party because they were disgusted with the corruption of the secular Fatah movement and were impressed with the social service system Hamas had created. Like other resistance movements—the African National Congress, the Irish Republican Army—Hamas was on its way toward becoming a political party. If such a party takes power only to behave undemocratically—as the Muslim Brotherhood arguably did in Egypt—that's a different question. But if you claim to respect democracy, you must recognize the results of free and fair elections. And if you want a party to change its position—and it's willing to talk—you have to sit down at the table and negotiate with it.

But Israel—and by extension the United States—didn't choose this option. As a result, a border conflict has raged ever since, with two particularly severe flare-ups in 2008-9 and 2012.

Last month, Hamas and Fatah set aside their own substantial grievances and forged a unity agreement on administering both Gaza and the West Bank. Here was a perfect opportunity for Israel to move forward with a new deal. In reality, however, this was a signal for Israel to go on the offensive. It just needed an excuse. When Gazan militants linked to the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), but not Hamas, kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers, Netanyahu had his excuse.

Israel's latest bombing campaign has already left nearly 200 Palestinians dead. Roughly 70 percent are civilians; more than 30 of the victims are children. Israeli bombs have fallen on houses, apartment buildings, a disability center, a café. Foreigners have even volunteered to be human shields at a hospital that has already been struck twice. The Israeli Defense Forces maintain that they warn residents of a building beforehand of a strike, but this practice is inconsistent.

Some Israelis refer to their periodic shelling of the Palestinian territory as "mowing the lawn." It is a disturbing metaphor because it is so indiscriminate. They don't talk about "weeding the garden" or "pruning the trees." A lawnmower cuts down everything in its path—grass, weeds, wildflowers. Also, a lawn needs constant mowing, suggesting that Israel plans to conduct bombing campaigns on a seasonal basis.

But Netanyahu may well see an opportunity to eliminate Hamas altogether. The organization no longer can count on support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or Syria's Assad. Ties with Iran were also strained by the support Hamas provided to rebels fighting in Syria. Nor can the territory rely on supplies coming in through tunnels from the Sinai. Those to the right of Netanyahu—unbelievably, the Israeli political spectrum has such ultraviolent frequencies—are reportedly pressing the government to launch a ground offensive. Mowing the lawn would then quickly become a scorched earth policy.

It's not a fair fight. The casualty rates are grotesquely asymmetrical. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system has reduced the number of casualties on the Israeli side to a single death so far. Gazans have fled by the thousands to the southern part of the territory while Israelis have set up plastic chairs on a mountain overlook to watch the bombs explode in Gaza as if they were fireworks.

In this way, Israel has entered the same murky moral territory that the United States entered during the conflicts in Kosovo and Libya. It is currently waging effectively risk-free warfare. Governments that don't have to deal with public response to the deaths of either soldiers or civilians are freed of the conventional political calculus involved in prosecuting a war. Such a government may also be less willing to compromise, for there is no significant counterweight to military action, at least when it comes to aerial attacks.

So far, however, it's been Hamas that has rejected the latest ceasefire, brokered by Egypt. Hamas has its reasons. It wants the release of its members who were rearrested in June after being set free in a deal in 2011. And it wants an end to the blockade that has turned Gaza into a virtual prison for its inhabitants. But Egypt's deal didn't reflect any of these concerns.

The major players continue to violate the most fundamental rule of conflict resolution: taking into consideration the underlying interests of all parties to the conflict. The problem goes back at least to 2006, when Hamas won an election that Israel and the United States failed to recognize.

Netanyahu still believes that he can bomb Gazans into changing their underlying interests. The real question is: how long will the Obama administration persist in supporting this delusion?

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Why No Vetoed Resolutions on Civilian Killings in Gaza?

Saturday, 19 July 2014 09:56
By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service | News Analysis


United Nations - As the civil war in Syria continues into its fourth year, the Western nations sitting on the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) have unsuccessfully tried to condemn the killings of civilians, impose punitive sanctions and accuse the Syrian government of war crimes – in four vetoed and failed resolutions.

The United States, France and Britain forced a vote on all four resolutions despite implicit threats by China and Russia, allies of beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to exercise their vetoes. And they did.

All five countries are veto-wielding permanent members of the UNSC.

The vetoes drew strong condemnations from human rights groups, including a coalition of eight non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which described the last veto by Russia and China as "a shameful illustration of why voluntary restraint on the use of the veto in mass atrocity situations is essential to the Council's ability to live up to the U.N. charter's expectations."

But the question now looming large over the United Nations is why China and Russia aren't initiating a new draft resolution condemning the aerial bombardments of civilians in Gaza, demanding a no-fly zone and accusing Israelis of war crimes.

Such a resolution is certain to be vetoed by one, or all three, of the Western powers in the UNSC, as China and Russia did on the resolutions against Syria. But this time around, it will be the Western powers on the defensive, trying to protect the interests of a country accused of civilian killings and war crimes.

Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, told IPS just as the Russians and Chinese have blocked Security Council action regarding Syria's attacks on civilians in crowded urban areas, the United States has successfully blocked Security Council action regarding Israeli attacks on civilians in crowded urban areas.

Though both involve serious violations of international humanitarian law, precedent would dictate that U.N. action on Israel's assault on Gaza would be even more appropriate because it is an international conflict rather than a civil war, said Zunes, who has written extensively on the politics of the Security Council.

"What is hard to explain is why the Security Council has not been willing to force the United States to take the embarrassing step of actually vetoing the measure, as it has on four occasions with Russia and China in regard to Syria," he asked.

Ian Williams, a longstanding U.N. correspondent and senior analyst at Foreign Policy in Focus, told IPS the UNSC is determined to prove that governments do not have principles, only interests.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Palestinians have had no sponsors or patrons.

He said even the Russians and the Chinese weigh the strength of the Israel Lobby in the U.S., and increasingly in Europe, and calculate whether it is in their interests to alienate Washington even more.

Since they see few tangible diplomatic, economic or political benefits from backing the Palestinians, let alone Hamas, they allow atrocities to go unchecked in Gaza while raising their hands in horror about lesser, and less calculated, crimes elsewhere, said Williams.

"And the Russians would have to explain why they defend Assad for similar behaviour against his own people," he added.

Only popular indignation will force the hand of governments – and the French government knows that, which is why they have banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations, he noted.

Addressing an emergency meeting of the UNSC Friday, Dr Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of the State of Palestine, told delegates the 10-day death toll from heavy F-16 air strikes has been estimated at 274, mostly civilians, including 24 women and 62 children, and over 2,076 wounded and more thatn 38,000 displaced.

These are figures, he said, that could be corroborated by U.N. agencies on the ground.

Mansour accused Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity, state terrorism and systematic violation of human rights.

But as of Friday, there were no indications of a hard-hitting resolution focusing on the plight of the 1.7 million residents under heavy fire and who are being defended by the militant group Hamas, accused of firing hundreds of rockets into Israel, with just one Israeli casualty.

Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, told IPS that a declaration – adopted at a summit meeting of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in Brazil last week – mentions Palestine and Israel in terms of the Middle East peace process, but it does not take a direct position on the ongoing war on Gaza.

"It would have been an apposite place to have crafted a separate and pointed resolution in solidarity with the Palestinians alongside the stated claim to the celebration of the U.N. Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People," he said.

He added that it also says something about the lack of confidence by the BRICS members on the Security Council who felt betrayed by Resolution 1973 (on Libya) and did not draft a resolution to call for a No Fly Zone over Gaza based on the principles of Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

The West has drafted resolutions on Syria, knowing that Russia and China would veto them as a way to deliberately put their rivals in a poor light, he added.

He asked why the BRICS states on the Security Council (currently Russia and China) did not produce a resolution to show the world that the West (or at least the U.S.) is willing to allow the calculated slaughter of the Palestinians at the same time as they want to be the ones to arbiter who is a civilian and what it means to responsibly protect them.

This only shows the BRICS states are not willing to directly challenge the West not in a defensive way (by vetoing a Western resolution), but in an aggressive way (by making the West veto a resolution for ending the slaughter in Gaza), he added.

Brazil, the current chair of BRICS, said in a statement released Friday the Brazilian government rejects the current Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, which represents a serious setback to peace efforts.

"Such an offensive could have serious repercussions for the increased instability in the Middle East and exacerbate the already dramatic humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," the statement said.

"We urge the Israeli forces to strictly respect their obligations under the International Humanitarian Law. Furthermore, we consider it necessary that Israel put an end to the blockade on Gaza immediately."

Visit IPS news for fresh perspectives on development and globalization.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Detroit Rallies Largest Turnout for Palestine in Years

Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:53
By Jimmy Johnson, Electronic Intifada | Report



Over 1,000 people turned out for a demonstration and public outreach campaign in Detroit on Sunday outside the annual Concert of Colors on Woodword Avenue near the Wayne State University campus.

The day focused on both Israel’s ongoing military attacks against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the recent water shut-offs by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. Tens of thousands of primarily black, working class residents are going thirsty because of this move by the bankrupted city of Detroit. It has been condemned as a public health disaster in the making by the largest professional association of nurses in the US.

An informal working group, which is part of a black-Palestinian and black-Arab solidarity effort, mobilized the largest local turnout for a Palestine event in recent years

Rather than choose symbolic or concrete places of oppression for the protest, organizers (of which I was one) decided to bring the message directly to the people. Demonstrators initially gathered outside of the Max Fisher Theater on Woodward Avenue, where the annual high-profile Concert of Colors was to begin.

The marchers engaged people they encountered in conversation, with leaflets calling for solidarity and joint struggle between Palestine and Detroit. At both the gathering spot and along the march demonstrators chanted, “Free Palestine! Free Detroit!” while numerous cars drove by with large Palestinian flags.

Claiming an elevated spot in the gathering space, Zena Ozeir, one of the organizers and a member of sponsoring organization the Z Collective (a Muslim feminist group), kicked off a series of rousing speeches, poetry and rhyme by local activists and artists from Detroit and the surrounding area.

Speakers included Dawud Walid from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Detroiter and Palestinian-American member of the Michigan state legislature Rashida Tlaib, poet Omar Aburashed and hip-hop artists and organizers Invincible and William Copeland.

The poetry and speeches addressed both the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the bureaucratic attacks on both the Palestinian and Detroit water systems. The action was endorsed by numerous organizations representing large parts of black social justice groups in Detroit and Arab, Muslim and Palestinian groups in Dearborn and metro Detroit.

At the gathering place there was a “photo booth” where demonstrators could pose for photos with protest signs as one way for the protest to produce not only speeches and chants of dissent and solidarity, but critical art as well.

In the words of Copeland, a local delegate to the 2012 World Social Forum - Free Palestine: “People were claiming and being fully present in the space.” He pointed to the rousing crowd responses and sense of camaraderie, and also to the crowd’s maintenance of the space with hundreds of people remaining for long after the action ended.

The event was a success, yet organizers saw significant room for growth in solidarity and building joint struggle between Palestine and Detroit. Copeland remarked that “It’s a long term work to connect black populations to the struggle in Palestine, and it’s a long term struggle to connect those groups supporting Palestine to the struggle in black Detroit.”

On the event’s Facebook page, some (apparently Palestinian) metro Detroit community members accused organizers of trying to “push alternate agendas” by including human rights violations in Detroit as a central part of the rally. Several people commented that the mass water shut-offs were not human rights violations at all but simply the inevitable result of an unpaid water bill.

One demonstrator named this as part of the work to be done in building solidarity and joint struggle in Detroit, saying, “There’s a gap in communication between the African experience, the black experience, and the Arab experience.”

Indeed, it is the tens of thousands of overwhelmingly working class and black residents of Detroit who are affected by the shut-offs. Several large venues frequented more commonly by wealthier, non-black metro Detroit residents saw no shut-offs, despite unpaid water bills amounting to tens of thousands of dollars each.

The shut-offs are no more a simple bureaucratic response to unpaid water bills than Israeli administrative home demolitions are a bureaucratic response to Palestinian construction without permits. This message needs to be better communicated.

The demonstrators responded in a uniformly positive way on the day and in the time since, continuing to post glowing messages and photos on the event’s Facebook page and contacting the action’s organizers. Copeland noted that the day was “a step, a big step” in the direction of building joint struggle between Detroit and Palestine.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

After Palestinian Unity Deal, Did Israel Spark Violence to Prevent a New "Peace Offensive"?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:54
By Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate, Democracy Now! | Video Interview


It is widely thought that the flare-up in Israel and the Occupied Territories began with the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank just more than a month ago. But our guests — author Norman Finkelstein and Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani — argue that such a narrative ignores the broader context of decades of occupation and recent events highlighting the expansionist goals of the Israeli government in the Palestinian land under its control. "Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict — which the [Fatah-Hamas] unity government was — at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction, in this case from Hamas, break up the unity government, and then Israel has its pretext," Finkelstein says. Rabbani and Finkelstein are co-authors of the forthcoming book, "How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli musician and peace activist David Broza, ("What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," recorded in an East Jerusalem recording studio with Israeli, Palestinian and American musicians. The Jerusalem Youth Choir, comprised of both Palestinian and Israeli members, lends their voice to the recording. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Aaron Maté.

AARON MATÉ: Well, with the potential for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, we turn now to the roots of the latest crisis and what can be done to avoid another in the future. It is widely thought the flare-up began with the kidnappings of three Israeli teens in the West Bank just over a month ago. Their dead bodies were found later on. But our next guests argue the narrative ignores the broader context of decades of occupation and recent events highlighting the expansionist goals of the Israeli government in the Palestinian land under its control.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we're joined by Norman Finkelstein, author and scholar. His most recent books are Old Wine, Broken Bottle: Ari Shavit's Promised Land and Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End. And we're joined by Mouin Rabbani, a Palestinian political analyst, formerly with the International Crisis Group. Today, both Norman Finkelstein and Mouin Rabbani have co-authored a forthcoming book, How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Mouin Rabbani, we're speaking to you over at The Hague. Can you respond to this latest news of the Egyptian ceasefire, Israel accepting and Hamas weighing this?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, I think Amira explained it quite well. So far as we can tell, Hamas has been neither directly nor indirectly consulted on a proposal that basically the Egyptians have concocted together with Tony Blair and the Israelis and some other parties, the purpose of which appears to be something that Hamas cannot accept and that can then be used to legitimize an intensification of the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

The problem for Hamas is twofold. On the one hand, as Amira explained, it basically restores an acceptable status quo, while, on the other hand, it has been endorsed by the Arab League, by the PA in Ramallah, by most of the Western powers and so on. So it will be difficult for them to either accept or reject it, so to speak, while at the same time I think the parties that are proposing this ceasefire are making it clear that they're not really interested in any further negotiation of its terms.

AARON MATÉ: Norman Finkelstein, give us a sketch of the broader context for how this latest flare-up began.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, before I do, I'm going to just briefly comment on the ceasefire. The ceasefire, first of all, says nothing about the rampages by Israel against Hamas in the West Bank. And it was those rampages which caused the current conflict to escalate. It gives Israel a green light to continue arresting Hamas members, blowing up homes in the West Bank, ransacking homes and killing Palestinians, which was the prelude to the current fighting.

Secondly, if you look at the ceasefire, it's exactly what was agreed on in June—excuse me, June 2008 and the same ceasefire that was agreed to in November 2012. Namely, in both cases, it was said that there would be a relaxing of the illegal blockade of Gaza. In both cases, after the ceasefire was signed, the blockade was maintained, and in fact the blockade was escalated. So now, in the current version of the ceasefire, it said the blockade will be lifted after there has been calm restored and the security situation has been established. But if Israel says Hamas is a terrorist organization, then the security situation can never be calm in the Gaza, and therefore there will be never a lifting of the blockade of Gaza. So we're right back to where we were in June 2008, November 2012. Of course Hamas is going to reject that kind of agreement. It means it legalizes, it legitimizes the brutal, merciless, heartless, illegal blockade of Gaza.

As to how we got to where we are, the general context is perfectly obvious for anyone who wants to see it. A unity government was formed between the PA and Hamas. Netanyahu was enraged at this unity government. It called on the U.S., it called on the EU, to break relations with the Palestinian Authority. Surprisingly, the United States said, "No, we're going to give this unity government time. We'll see whether it works or not." Then the EU came in and said it will also give the unity government time. "Let's see. Let's see what happens."

At this point, Netanyahu virtually went berserk, and he was determined to break up the unity government. When there was the abduction of the three Israeli teenagers, he found his pretext. There isn't a scratch of evidence, not a jot of evidence, that Hamas had anything to do with the kidnappings and the killings. Nobody even knows what the motive was, to this point. Even if you look at the July 3rd report of Human Rights Watch, they said nobody knows who was behind the abductions. Even the U.S. State Department, on July 7th, there was a news conference, and the U.S. State Department said, "We don't have hard evidence about who was responsible." But that had nothing to do with it. It was just a pretext. The pretext was to go into the West Bank, attack Hamas, arrest 700 members of Hamas, blow up two homes, carry on these rampages, these ransackings, and to try to evoke a reaction from Hamas.

This is what Israel always does. Anybody who knows the history, it's what the Israeli political scientist, the mainstream political scientist—name was Avner Yaniv—he said it's these Palestinian "peace offensives." Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict, which the unity government was, at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction—in this case, from Hamas—break up the unity government, and Israel has its pretext. "We can't negotiate with the Palestinian Authority because they only represent some of the Palestinian people; they don't represent all of the Palestinian people." And so Netanyahu does what he always does—excuse me, what Israeli governments always do: You keep pounding the Palestinians, in this case pounding Hamas, pounding Hamas, trying to evoke a reaction, and when the reaction comes—well, when the reaction comes, he said, "We can't deal with these people. They're terrorists."

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

AMY GOODMAN: Mouin Rabbani, on this issue of the Israeli teens who were kidnapped and then killed, when did the Israeli government understand that they had been murdered, as they carried out the siege to try to find them?

MOUIN RABBANI: Well, what we know is that one of these youths called the police emergency line immediately after they were abducted and that gunshots can be clearly heard on the recording of that telephone conversation. On that basis, the Israeli security establishment concluded that the three youths had been killed almost as soon as they were abducted. And this information was, of course, known to the Israeli government. Nevertheless, Netanyahu deliberately suppressed this information, using the broad censorship powers that the Israeli government has, and during this period launched into this organized rampage—

AMY GOODMAN: Put a gag order on reporters from reporting this?

MOUIN RABBANI: Basically, yes, that, you know, this was treated as sensitive security information subject to military censorship. And there were only allusions to it, and only days after, by some Israeli journalists, and then only referring to some elliptical statements that were being made by Israeli military commanders suggesting that, you know, this is not a hostage rescue situation, as Netanyahu was presenting it, but is more likely to be a search for bodies, which is of course how it turned out. And the reason that Netanyahu suppressed this information is because it gave him the opportunity to launch this organized rampage throughout the West Bank, to start re-arresting prisoners who had been released in 2011 in the prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel, to intensify the bombing of the Gaza Strip, and generally to whip up mass hysteria within Israel, which of course resulted in the burning death of the 16-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem several days later.

AARON MATÉ: Mouin, you've interviewed Hamas leaders. The response from the Israeli government is always that Hamas is committed to Israel's destruction, so therefore how can we possibly negotiate with a unity government that includes them? What's your sense of Hamas's willingness over a long term to reach some sort of agreement or a long-term truce with Israel?

MOUIN RABBANI: I think Hamas, or at least the organization and not necessarily all of its members, but its key leaders, have long since reconciled themselves with a two-state settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think what's been surprising in the past several months has been that the Hamas leadership has gone well beyond that, in the context of the reconciliation agreement signed on 23 April between Fatah and Hamas. In that agreement, they agreed to the formation of a new government, which neither Hamas nor Fatah would enter the Cabinet, but that the political program of that government would be the political program of the PA president—at the moment, Mahmoud Abbas. And what you basically had was Abbas stating publicly that he not only accepts the so-called Quartet conditions, but that in addition he would continue security coordination with Israel and, you know, was making these statements almost on a daily basis. And Hamas, more or less, looked the other way and didn't withdraw from the government.

And this, I think, reflects, in some respects, the increasing difficulty Hamas was experiencing in governing the Gaza Strip and funding its government there, because of its—because of the increasing hostility or the exceptional [inaudible] the regime in Egypt, the deterioration in its relations with Iran, the inability to replace those with funding from Qatar or other sources. So you effectively had a government that was not only amenable to a two-state settlement with the support of Hamas, but it went significantly further and effectively accepted the Quartet conditions, which most [inaudible] view as illegitimate, and additionally was continuing security coordination with Israel that was largely directed at Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. I think—you know, and this is—as Norman was explaining, this is a key reason why Netanyahu sought to undermine this agreement and the resulting government.

AMY GOODMAN: Norman Finkelstein, why do you think Israel has hesitated to launch the invasion? Their, you know, thousands of soldiers are lined up along the Gaza border.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, it's interesting, because all the—there are a large number of theories that are being spun, in particular in the Israeli press. The answer, I think, to that question is pretty obvious. The Israeli domestic population won't tolerate a large number of Israeli combatant casualties. That's out. Israel likes to fight—not unlike President Obama, Israel likes to fight high-tech—likes to commit high-tech massacres, and it doesn't want to fight a real war. And in 2008, Israel carried out, executed the big high-tech massacre in Gaza, killed about 1,400 Palestinians, up to 1,200 of whom were civilians, left behind 600,000 tons of rubble, dropped the white phosphorus and so forth. And for the first time, the international community reacted very harshly to it. The climax, of course, was the Goldstone Report.

And at that point, Israel was placed in a very difficult position, because on the one hand, it can't stop the rocket attacks unless it conducts a ground invasion, which is exactly the situation it faced in Lebanon in 2006 also. The air force can't knock out these rockets. They're short-range rockets, mostly. They're not even rockets, but we'll call them that. The air force can't knock them out. The only way to get rid of them—exactly as in Lebanon in 2006, the only way to get rid of them is by launching a ground invasion. However, the domestic population won't accept a large number of casualties. And the only way you don't have a large number of casualties is if you blast everything in sight within a mile's radius, which is what Israel did in 2008, '09. There were only 10 Israeli military casualties; of those 10, half of them were friendly fire, Israelis accidentally killing Israelis. But after the Goldstone Report and after 2008, '09, they can't do that again. They can't carry out that kind of massive destruction, the 22 days of death and destruction, as Amnesty International called it. They can't do that again. A new constraint has been placed on Israel's political and military echelon.

So, that's the dilemma for them. Domestically, they can't tolerate large numbers of combatant casualties, but the only way to prevent that is blasting everything in sight. The international community says you can't do that. You kill 150, even kill 200, Human Rights Watch said killing 200 Palestinians in Gaza, that's not a war crime, they said. That's just collective punishment. Only Hamas commits war crimes, because one woman apparently died of a heart attack while—Israeli woman apparently died of a heart attack while trying to enter a shelter, so that's horrible, awful: That's a war crime. But when you kill 200 Palestinians, 80 percent of whom are civilians, about 20 percent of whom are children, according to Human Rights Watch, that's not a war crime. But the international community will accept that much, 200. But even Human Rights Watch won't accept if you go in and you do 2008, '09, again. And so, the Israeli government is faced with a real dilemma. And that's the problem for Netanyahu. Domestically, he loses if there are large number of casualties, combatant casualties; internationally, he loses if he tries to do 2008, '09, all over again.

AMY GOODMAN: Which resulted in how many deaths?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: 2008, '09, as I said, was about 1,400, of whom about up to 1,200 were civilians, I say 600,000 tons of rubble. They just left nothing there. And by the way, that was demanded by Tzipi Livni. On June 8th—excuse me, on January 18th, Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister then, the justice minister now, the person who's called a moderate by J Street, Tzipi Livni boasted—she went on TV and boasted, "We demanded hooliganism in Gaza. That's what I demanded," she said, "and we got it." According to J Street, she's the moderate.

AARON MATÉ: Norman, as we wrap, what needs to be done?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: What needs to be done is perfectly obvious. Amnesty International, which is a real human rights organization, unlike Human Rights Watch—Amnesty International issued a statement. It said, number one, there has to be a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestine—perfectly reasonable because, under international law, it's illegal to transfer weapons to countries which are major violators of human rights. So, comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestine. Number two, international investigation of war crimes on both sides.

And I'm saying number three. Number three has to be—there has to be the imposition of sanctions on Israel, until and unless it negotiates an end to the occupation according to international law. Now, that's not my suggestion. I'm basing it on the International Court of Justice. South Africa occupied Namibia. The International Court of Justice said in 1971, if South Africa does not engage in good-faith negotiations to end its occupation of Namibia, that occupation is illegal under international law. Israel has refused to engage in good-faith negotiations to end the occupation of Palestine, just like in the case of Namibia. It is now an illegal occupier of Palestine, and there should be a comprehensive sanctions imposed on Israel, until and unless it ends the occupation of Palestine under the terms of international law.

AMY GOODMAN: We'll leave it there. Norman Finkelstein, author and scholar. Mouin Rabbani, senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies. That does it for this discussion today. Of course we will continue the discussion of what's happening in Gaza. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.


[-] 4 points by turbocharger (1756) 3 years ago

Here is a more recent quote by a member of the Israeli parliment:

“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Now is this simply more propaganda? How can any of us know for sure?

One thing is certain, that when the West goes in and carves the place up and takes claim as they did 60 years ago, they had no fuckin clue what they were getting into.

I know people- a decent amount actually- who have been to Iraq, some multiple times. The comments are usually the same (from the mature ones anyways) in two things-

  • People just want to have a peaceful life
  • Those people are tough motherfuckers

As far as the Palestinians who have lived in that area for eternity, and now all of a sudden its "Israel" and Israel makes the rules, well, good luck for Israel.


[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

Valid point ( and I expect to hear a lot of grief because of it ) - but - YES - Palestine used as Stalking Horse.


[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

Arafat was not real happy with his peoples response either = assassinated.

Huh - some one (s) just want to keep the killing going - Hey?


[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

No? Those various evil .01 %er's have got to fall world wide ( whether power greedy or money greedy or both ) - and the public has got to know better than to keep popping the old disease to just replace it with another.


[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

That seems to be a very popular consensus =

Armageddon noun (Concise Encyclopedia)

In the New Testament, the place where the kings of the earth under demonic leadership will wage war on the forces of God at the end of history. Armageddon is mentioned only in the Revelation to John. The name may mean “Mountain of Megiddo,” a reference to the city of Megiddo, which held strategic importance in Palestine. Other biblical references suggest Jerusalem as the battle site.


[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

I don't know - OWS is relatively new. The battle to finally do away with fossil fuel is heating up. The fossil Fuel power structure is entrenched - gonna get ugly getting rid of that structure. Though it really need not - except for the insanity which is in control at this time - there really is no good reason against having a peaceful and prosperous and quick change over to clean energy.


[-] 5 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

I don't see OWS as having diminished - I see it as having evolved into a much larger force through the growth of causes and the energy is going into various groups - old and new.

I can't imagine what kind of breakthrough (s) you are looking for - to be able to fast track clean energy production implementation and use. The main hold-up I see is requirement = as in their needs to be strong requirement to implement now = across the board. And an 85 Billion dollar a month QI program could certainly make it happen within ten years - instead of the current QE program where that money is just poured out onto the ground - accomplishing nothing.



[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

To Avoid Unleashing Gaza-Like Airstrikes on Iraq, Congress Must Vote

Monday, 14 July 2014 13:03
By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed


In the early hours of Friday morning, Gaza's Ark - the boat preparing to sail from Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade on Palestinian exports - was hit by an Israeli missile and caught fire. When dawn broke Friday morning in Gaza, little was left of the boat.

At this writing, the United Nations says that at least 32 children and women have been killed in the Israeli military assault on Gaza, with at least 166 killed overall. Hundreds of lives can still be saved with an immediate ceasefire, as the United Nations Security Council unanimously (including the United States) called for on July 12.

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison and 24,000 Americans have called for a ceasefire. If the demand among Americans and members of Congress for an immediate ceasefire became more widespread, don't you think that the administration would work harder to bring it about?

The last time Israeli forces launched a full ground invasion of Gaza - just before President Obama took office - 1,391 people were killed, including more than 300 children and more than 100 women, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. So an immediate ceasefire, stopping the now-threatened Israeli ground invasion, could spare some 1,200 Palestinian lives, including 250 children and 90 women.

There is also still time to stop President Obama from unleashing on children and women in Iraq what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unleashed, with effective US permission, on children and women in Gaza.

Those calling for US airstrikes in Iraq now should be pressed to answer a simple question about civilian casualties from airstrikes: has the Israeli military been doing everything it could to avoid civilian casualties in its air campaign?

If the Israeli military has not been doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties, then it has been committing war crimes (as the UN's human rights chief has said).

If the Israeli military is doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties - as the advocates of US airstrikes in Iraq would no doubt claim, since US advocates of US bombing in the Middle East are unfailingly also US advocates of Israeli bombing in the Middle East - why would we expect that US airstrikes in Iraq would have a different result from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza?

Israeli weapons, technology and intelligence capabilities are very similar to US weapons, technology and intelligence capabilities. If the United States had better means to avoid civilian casualties with airstrikes than the Israeli military, wouldn't the United States willingly share its technology and expertise? Would the Israeli government refuse such US aid?

Therefore, we can safely assume that the Israeli military has the same technical capacity to avoid killing children and women with its airstrikes as the US military. If the Israeli military cannot avoid killing children and women in Gaza with its airstrikes, then the US military cannot avoid killing children and women in Iraq with its airstrikes.

The unassailable logic of this argument underscores the urgency that the decision to use US military force in Iraq now must not be made by presidential executive order. It would not be constitutional, it would not be legal, it would not be democratic and it would not be moral.

At this writing, 94 members of the House have signed a bipartisan letter initiated by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) and Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Virginia) demanding that President Obama come to Congress for authorization before using military force in Iraq, as required by the US Constitution. Combined with the House who voted on June 19 to block the use of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for the Use of Military Force to justify bombing Iraq today, 195 members of the House are now on record opposing the use of the 2002 Iraq AUMF today - more than the 192 members of the House who insisted last August that President Obama come to Congress for authorization before bombing Syria.

Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) and Barbara Lee have now introduced a bill - invoking a key provision of the 1973 War Powers Resolution that allows members of Congress to force a vote on deploying US troops to a combat situation when Congress has not authorized the use of force - that would withdraw the military advisers President Obama sent to Iraq who could be used to call in airstrikes.

What has happened to civilians in Gaza in the last week is a cruel and terrible tragedy. But if we don't draw a line in the sand against further military escalation, the tragedy will get much worse. Stopping an Israeli ground assault in Gaza and stopping US military escalation in Iraq could save hundreds of innocent lives. Raising our voices costs nothing. Why wouldn't we do it?

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

A Ground Invasion of Gaza Will Achieve Nothing But More Bloodshed

Monday, 14 July 2014 11:40
By Anton Woronczuk, The Real News Network | Video Interview


More at The Real News



ANTON WORONCZUK, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Anton Woronczuk in Baltimore.

Palestinian officials say that over 100 Palestinians have been killed thus far since the Israeli military offensive began against Gaza on Tuesday. The UN has also raised concerns about Israeli airstrikes on civilian homes, saying that they are possibly in violation of international humanitarian law. And the in the meantime, at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, quote, "no international pressure will prevent Israel from continuing its operation in Gaza".

Now joining us to give his analysis is Gideon Levy. He is a prominent Israeli journalist and author of the weekly column Twilight Zone in the Israeli paper Haaretz, where he also serves as an editorial board member.

Thanks for joining us, Gideon.

GIDEON LEVY, JOURNALIST, HAARETZ: It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

WORONCZUK: So let me get your response to Netanyahu's recent comments that, quote, "no international pressure will prevent Israel from continuing its operation in Gaza" and also that Hamas is responsible for the deaths of Gazans civilians.

LEVY: That's obviously ridiculous, because Israel is not totally independent. Israel depends a lot on the United States. And the moment the United States will declare that fire should be ceased, there will be ceasefire. It's all about the devotion of the American administration, which did not prove itself until now.

WORONCZUK: So, I mean, as there's continued consideration of a ground invasion of Gaza, I mean, do you think that a ground invasion is a real military objective, or that public statements like these are driven by internal politics?

LEVY: As usual in Israel, it's very hard to make the difference and to draw the border. Everything in Israel is domestic politics, including the security policy, and everything has also objective roles. In this case there is a big pressure from the army and from the Israeli public opinion and media to go for a ground operation. I can't think about something more stupid been this, because Israel had tried before. And we know how it ends up: just more bloodshed and no real achievements.

WORONCZUK: So if they already understand that there's really no military achievements being made by a ground invasion, I mean, are you telling me, then, that nearly 100 Palestinians, and most of them civilians, have died simply because of domestic politics?

LEVY: No, I wouldn't say so, because the moment the Palestinians started to launch rockets on Israel, Israel could not stay passive. I claim that we should have approached it much before and not get into this situation in which Gaza is launching rockets. But once they started, Israel had to react. No doubt about this. I mean, no state in the world would just sit and wait, tens of rockets to fall on its citizens, and do nothing. But in this situation that we are right now, when the Palestinians are bleeding already, everything must be done to get a ceasefire, because no achievements will be achieved.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And let me get your response to a statement that was made by a military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner. He said that the IDF, quote, "uses its weapons to defend its civilians" and "Hamas uses its civilians to defend its weapons." Let me get your response to that.

LEVY: In propaganda, like in propaganda--you know, this guy is a propagandist in uniform. Until now, maybe Israel's guarding its civilians and maybe the Palestinians are regarding their weapons, but the fact is that we are standing in front of 100 Palestinian killed, most of them civilians, and this killing is being made by Israel. Nothing more simple than this.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And why is Hamas continuing to fire/launch rockets onto Israel? I mean, it must know that it has no military advantage to doing so and that it plays into the hands of Israeli officials who are calling for revenge and increased military operations against the Gaza Strip.

LEVY: First of all, let's remember that the only way of Gaza to remind the world and the Israelis its existence is by launching rockets. When there are no rockets from Gaza, nobody but nobody deals with Gaza. Nobody cares about Gaza. Gaza is even not on the table of the so-called peace process. Gaza is totally denied. And the only way to remind us that there is a problem named Gaza is by launching rockets.

Having said this, this does not mean that I think that there is much logic in launching all those rockets on Israel right now, because finally who is going to pay for it are the people of Gaza who suffered so much. And I think, in a way, that Hamas is using them as hostages.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And let's get your take on how well the Israeli press and the international press has covered situation in recent days.

LEVY: It's very hard to call the Israeli press in those days a real press. It's rather propaganda tool, trying to serve blindly, automatically the narrative that is dictated by the Israeli army. They do it, by the way, voluntarily--nobody forces them to do so--because they want to please their readers and their viewers who want now to get united around one narrative, which is the narrative that we should beat the Palestinians as much as we can.

But at the same time, the Palestinian sacrifice is hardly covered in the Israeli media, and this is obviously very regrettable, because would more Israelis see how does Gaza look in those days, at least part of them, those with some kind of humanity and conscience, would [feel something?] toward the real victims of this operation. In any case, that's about the Israeli media.

About the international media, I have the feeling that this time it's still rather reacting in low key relative to former operations, because you feel that the world feels that it [separates?] itself again and again, and how many times can you follow it? So, slowly, slowly, it's becoming a main story. International media bothers to be in Gaza and show the world or so what's going on in Gaza. And that's the most crucial role now, to show the world what is happening in Gaza now, because Gaza is really under a terrible attack.

WORONCZUK: Okay. Gideon Levy, columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, thank you for joining us.

LEVY: Thank you very much.

WORONCZUK: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother's War: On Israel, Ukraine and Truth

Sunday, 13 July 2014 11:59
By John Pilger, CounterPunch | Op-Ed


The other night, I saw George Orwells’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device. Peace is “perpetual war”. “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

In the arts, hostility to political truth-telling is an article of bourgeois faith. “Picasso’s red period,” says an Observer headline, “and why politics don’t make good art.” Consider this in a newspaper that promoted the bloodbath in Iraq as a liberal crusade. Picasso’s lifelong opposition to fascism is a footnote, just as Orwell’s radicalism has faded from the prize that appropriated his name.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life”. No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among the insistent voices of consumer- feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital”.

At the National Theatre, a new play, Great Britain, satirises the phone hacking scandal that has seen journalists tried and convicted, including a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Described as a “farce with fangs [that] puts the whole incestuous [media] culture in the dock and subjects it to merciless ridicule”, the play’s targets are the “blessedly funny” characters in Britain’s tabloid press. That is well and good, and so familiar. What of the non-tabloid media that regards itself as reputable and credible, yet serves a parallel role as an arm of state and corporate power, as in the promotion of illegal war?

The Leveson inquiry into phone hacking glimpsed this unmentionable. Tony Blair was giving evidence, complaining to His Lordship about the tabloids’ harassment of his wife, when he was interrupted by a voice from the public gallery. David Lawley-Wakelin, a film-maker, demanded Blair’s arrest and prosecution for war crimes. There was a long pause: the shock of truth. Lord Leveson leapt to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown out and apologised to the war criminal. Lawley-Wakelin was prosecuted; Blair went free.

Blair’s enduring accomplices are more respectable than the phone hackers. When the BBC arts presenter, Kirsty Wark, interviewed him on the tenth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, she gifted him a moment he could only dream of; she allowed him to agonise over his “difficult” decision on Iraq rather than call him to account for his epic crime. This evoked the procession of BBC journalists who in 2003 declared that Blair could feel “vindicated”, and the subsequent, “seminal” BBC series, The Blair Years, for which David Aaronovitch was chosen as the writer, presenter and interviewer. A Murdoch retainer who campaigned for military attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria, Aaronovitch fawned expertly.

Since the invasion of Iraq – the exemplar of an act of unprovoked aggression the Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson called “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” — Blair and his mouthpiece and principal accomplice, Alastair Campbell, have been afforded generous space in the Guardian to rehabilitate their reputations. Described as a Labour Party “star”, Campbell has sought the sympathy of readers for his depression and displayed his interests, though not his current assignment as advisor, with Blair, to the Egyptian military tyranny.

As Iraq is dismembered as a consequence of the Blair/Bush invasion, a Guardian headline declares: “Toppling Saddam was right, but we pulled out too soon”. This ran across a prominent article on 13 June by a former Blair functionary, John McTernan, who also served Iraq’s CIA installed dictator Iyad Allawi. In calling for a repeat invasion of a country his former master helped destroy , he made no reference to the deaths of at least 700,000 people, the flight of four million refugees and sectarian turmoil in a nation once proud of its communal tolerance.

“Blair embodies corruption and war,” wrote the radical Guardian columnist Seumas Milne in a spirited piece on 3 July. This is known in the trade as “balance”. The following day, the paper published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the bomber were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This other embodiment of “corruption and war” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered people across the developing world.

In a village in Afghanistan, inhabited by the poorest of the poor, I filmed Orifa, kneeling at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, seven other members of her family, including six children, and two children who were killed in the adjacent house. A “precision” 500-pound bomb fell directly on their small mud, stone and straw house, leaving a crater 50 feet wide. Lockheed Martin, the plane’s manufacturer’s, had pride of place in the Guardian’s advertisement.

The former US secretary of state and aspiring president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, was recently on the BBC’s Women’s Hour, the quintessence of media respectability. The presenter, Jenni Murray, presented Clinton as a beacon of female achievement. She did not remind her listeners about Clinton’s profanity that Afghanistan was invaded to “liberate” women like Orifa. She asked Clinton nothing about her administration’s terror campaign using drones to kill women, men and children. There was no mention of Clinton’s idle threat, while campaigning to be the first female president, to “eliminate” Iran, and nothing about her support for illegal mass surveillance and the pursuit of whistle-blowers.

Murray did ask one finger-to-the-lips question. Had Clinton forgiven Monica Lewinsky for having an affair with husband? “Forgiveness is a choice,” said Clinton, “for me, it was absolutely the right choice.” This recalled the 1990s and the years consumed by the Lewinsky “scandal”. President Bill Clinton was then invading Haiti, and bombing the Balkans, Africa and Iraq. He was also destroying the lives of Iraqi children; Unicef reported the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five as a result of an embargo led by the US and Britain.

The children were media unpeople, just as Hillary Clinton’s victims in the invasions she supported and promoted – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia — are media unpeople. Murray made no reference to them. A photograph of her and her distinguished guest, beaming, appears on the BBC website.

In politics as in journalism and the arts, it seems that dissent once tolerated in the “mainstream” has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. When I began a career in Britain’s Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was acceptable to critique western power as a rapacious force. Read James Cameron’s celebrated reports of the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the American bombing of North Vietnam. Today’s grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

[ edit ] Query - Was ABC wagging the dog? If so - how stupid were they to use video that could be identified as being exact opposite of what was being described?

edit-> Everyone - IS - aware - that the gaff (?) was scripted - Right?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago

See - the thing is - when a clown - sorry - talking head makes an on air gaff (?) - it is not usually a gaff at all - as they are scripted - so it was not an on air oops moment - unless the clown - scuse sorry - again - the talking head went off script and did an ad-lib.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill wrote: “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required. “It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature: its conviction that it represents a superior form of life.” He had in mind a speech by Blair in which the then prime minister promised to “reorder the world around us” according to his “moral values”.

Richard Falk, the respected authority on international law and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, once described a “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence”. It is “so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable”.

Tenure and patronage reward the guardians. On BBC Radio 4, Razia Iqbal interviewed Toni Morrison, the African-American Nobel Laureate. Morrison wondered why people were “so angry” with Barack Obama, who was “cool” and wished to build a “strong economy and health care”. Morrison was proud to have talked on the phone with her hero, who had read one of her books and invited her to his inauguration.

Neither she nor her interviewer mentioned Obama’s seven wars, including his terror campaign by drone, in which whole families, their rescuers and mourners have been murdered. What seemed to matter was that a “finely spoken” man of colour had risen to the commanding heights of power. In The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon wrote that the “historic mission” of the colonised was to serve as a “transmission line” to those who ruled and oppressed. In the modern era, the employment of ethnic difference in western power and propaganda systems is now seen as essential. Obama epitomises this, though the cabinet of George W. Bush – his warmongering clique – was the most multiracial in presidential history.

As the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the jihadists of ISIS, Obama said, “The American people made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better destiny.” How “cool” is that lie? How “finely spoken” was Obama’s speech at the West Point military academy on 28 May. Delivering his “state of the world” address at the graduation ceremony of those who “will take American leadership” across the world, Obama said, “The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it. International opinion matters, but America will never ask permission …”

In repudiating international law and the rights of independent nations, the American president claims a divinity based on the might of his “indispensable nation”. It is a familiar message of imperial impunity, though always bracing to hear. Evoking the rise of fascism in the 1930s, Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.” Historian Norman Pollack wrote: “For goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

In February, the US mounted one of its “colour” coups against the elected government in Ukraine, exploiting genuine protests against corruption in Kiev. Obama’s national security adviser Victoria Nuland personally selected the leader of an “interim government”. She nicknamed him “Yats”. Vice President Joe Biden came to Kiev, as did CIA Director John Brennan. The shock troops of their putsch were Ukrainian fascists.

For the first time since 1945, a neo-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No Western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism in the borderland through which Hitler’s invading Nazis took millions of Russian lives. They were supported by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), responsible for the massacre of Jews and Russians they called “vermin”. The UPA is the historical inspiration of the present-day Svoboda Party and its fellow-travelling Right Sector. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato Enlargement Project. Reneging on a promise made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has, in effect, militarily occupied eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato’s expansion is the biggest military build-up since the Second World War.

A Nato Membership Action Plan is Washington’s gift to the coup-regime in Kiev. In August, “Operation Rapid Trident” will put American and British troops on Ukraine’s Russian border and “Sea Breeze” will send US warships within sight of Russian ports. Imagine the response if these acts of provocation, or intimidation, were carried out on America’s borders.

In reclaiming Crimea — which Nikita Kruschev illegally detached from Russia in 1954 – the Russians defended themselves as they have done for almost a century. More than 90 per cent of the population of Crimea voted to return the territory to Russia. Crimea is the home of the Black Sea Fleet and its loss would mean life or death for the Russian Navy and a prize for Nato. Confounding the war parties in Washington and Kiev, Vladimir Putin withdrew troops from the Ukrainian border and urged ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon separatism.

In Orwellian fashion, this has been inverted in the west to the “Russian threat”. Hillary Clinton likened Putin to Hitler. Without irony, right-wing German commentators said as much. In the media, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are sanitised as “nationalists” or “ultra nationalists”. What they fear is that Putin is skilfully seeking a diplomatic solution, and may succeed. On 27 June, responding to Putin’s latest accommodation – his request to the Russian Parliament to rescind legislation that gave him the power to intervene on behalf of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians – Secretary of State John Kerry issued another of his ultimatums. Russia must “act within the next few hours, literally” to end the revolt in eastern Ukraine. Notwithstanding that Kerry is widely recognised as a buffoon, the serious purpose of these “warnings” is to confer pariah status on Russia and suppress news of the Kiev regime’s war on its own people.

A third of the population of Ukraine are Russian-speaking and bilingual. They have long sought a democratic federation that reflects Ukraine’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are neither “separatists” nor “rebels” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland. Separatism is a reaction to the Kiev junta’s attacks on them, causing as many as 110,000 (UN estimate) to flee across the border into Russia. Typically, they are traumatised women and children.

Like Iraq’s embargoed infants, and Afghanistan’s “liberated” women and girls, terrorised by the CIA’s warlords, these ethnic people of Ukraine are media unpeople in the west, their suffering and the atrocities committed against them minimised, or suppressed. No sense of the scale of the regime’s assault is reported in the mainstream western media. This is not unprecedented. Reading again Phillip Knightley’s masterly The First Casualty: the war correspondent as hero, propagandist and mythmaker, I renewed my admiration for the Manchester Guardian’s Morgan Philips Price, the only western reporter to remain in Russia during the 1917 revolution and report the truth of a disastrous invasion by the western allies. Fair-minded and courageous, Philips Price alone disturbed what Knightley calls an anti-Russian “dark silence” in the west.

On 2 May, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. There is horrifying video evidence. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). The New York Times buried it, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.

On 28 June, the Guardian devoted most of a page to declarations by the Kiev regime’s “president”, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko. Again, Orwell’s rule of inversion applied. There was no putsch; no war against Ukraine’s minority; the Russians were to blame for everything. “We want to modernise my country,” said Poroshenko. “We want to introduce freedom, democracy and European values. Somebody doesn’t like that. Somebody doesn’t like us for that.”

According to his report, the Guardian’s reporter, Luke Harding, did not challenge these assertions, or mention the Odessa atrocity, the regime’s air and artillery attacks on residential areas, the killing and kidnapping of journalists, the firebombing of an opposition newspaper and his threat to “free Ukraine from dirt and parasites”. The enemy are “rebels”, “militants”, “insurgents”, “terrorists” and stooges of the Kremlin. Summon from history the ghosts of Vietnam, Chile, East Timor, southern Africa, Iraq; note the same tags. Palestine is the lodestone of this unchanging deceit. On 11 July, following the latest Israeli, American equipped slaughter in Gaza – 80 people including six children in one family — an Israeli general writes in the Guardian under the headline, “A necessary show of force”.

In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; it was her Triumph of the Will that reputedly cast Hitler’s spell. I asked her about propaganda in societies that imagined themselves superior. She replied that the “messages” in her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on a “submissive void” in the German population. “Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked. “Everyone,” she replied, “and of course the intelligentsia.”

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Thousands Gather for NYC Protest for Palestine

Friday, 11 July 2014 11:44
By Megan Iorio, Just Foreign Policy | Report



Thousands gathered in New York City on Wednesday, July 9, for a protest against the occupation of Palestine. The demonstration began with a rally in front of the Israeli Consulate on 42nd St and 2nd Ave, followed by a march down 42nd St to the News Corporation building, home of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post.

Protesters were particularly concerned with Israel's ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians following the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank and the biased media coverage of these events. Over 400 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank and eight were killed during the military campaign. The houses of two suspects outside Hebron were destroyed. Airstrikes on Gaza have killed at least 78 over the last few days, including 14 children. Israeli officials have yet to release any evidence in the kidnapping.

Protesters were also concerned with placing the current conflagration into the context of the overall occupation. The abduction and murder of 16 year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir by an Israeli lynch mob in Jerusalem drew particular condemnation, as well as the beating of his Palestinian-American teenage cousin Tarek Abu Khdeir by Israeli police.

"We are not the extremists. The extremists are the ones who believe in an ethnically pure Jewish state," Max Blumenthal, author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, told the crowd.

"You stand in the footsteps of Martin Luther King. You stand in the footsteps of Malcolm X. You stand in the footsteps of Stephen Biko. And you will carry this movement forward until Palestine is free."



This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Netanyahu's War: What It Is Good For?

Friday, 11 July 2014 10:47
By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed


The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a new war on Palestinians in Gaza, a war whose purported justifications make George W. Bush's excuses for his illegal invasion of Iraq smell nice by comparison. So far, the United States, Netanyahu's chief enabler, has been unwilling to stop the carnage, as it could easily do, because Washington hasn't yet heard enough complaints from Americans not to use their tax dollars to kill children in Gaza.

Suppose that you believe that there are just wars and there are unjust wars, as many people do. Is Netanyahu's war on Hamas in Gaza a just war? A just war must have a just end, and the just end must be sufficiently good to more than compensate for all injustices caused by the war. The just end must not be reachable by peaceful means, and attempts to use peaceful means to achieve the just end must have been exhausted.

There is no plausible story that Netanyahu's war is a just war. As J.J. Goldberg recounts in the Jewish Daily Forward, the justification for Netanyahu's war on Gaza given by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military on July 8 was this: "We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard."

That is not a just war. There is no just goal offered that killing is supposed to bring about. Killing itself is the goal.

As Goldberg and Max Blumenthal note, the racist revenge frenzy in the Israeli political system to which Netanyahu's military escalation is purportedly responding was deliberately manufactured by Netanyahu himself.

As Goldberg recounts in the [my emphasis]:

Once the [three kidnapped Israeli yeshiva] boys' disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock. Only on July 1, after the boys' bodies were found, did the truth come out: The government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas' West Bank operations.

The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gilad Shaer's desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel's 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning - neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff - the teen was heard whispering "They've kidnapped me" ("hatfu oti") followed by shouts of "Heads down," then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers' abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys' DNA. There was no doubt. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was "acting on the assumption that they're alive." It was, simply put, a lie. [. . . ] [Netanyahu's] rhetoric raised expectations that after demolishing Hamas in the West Bank he would proceed to Gaza. Hamas in Gaza began preparing for it. The Israeli right - settler leaders, hardliners in his own party - began demanding it.

Goldberg notes that before Netanyahu's revenge propaganda campaign and his violent crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank, Hamas hadn't fired a single rocket from Gaza and had largely suppressed fire by smaller jihadi groups. But, Goldberg says [my emphasis]:

The kidnapping and crackdown upset the balance. In Israel, grief and anger over the boys' disappearance grew steadily as the fabricated mystery stretched into a second and third week. Rallies and prayer meetings were held across the country and in Jewish communities around the world. The mothers were constantly on television. One addressed the United Nations in Geneva to plead for her son's return. Jews everywhere were in anguish over the unceasing threat of barbaric Arab terror plaguing Israel.

This, too, was misleading. The last seven years have been the most tranquil in Israel's history. Terror attacks are a fraction of the level during the nightmare intifada years - just six deaths in all of 2013. [. . . ] When the bodies were finally found, Israelis' anger exploded into calls for revenge, street riots and, finally, murder. [. . . ] In Gaza, leaders went underground. Rocket enforcement squads stopped functioning, and jihadi rocket firing spiked. Terror squads began preparing to counterattack Israel through tunnels. One tunnel exploded on June 19 in an apparent work accident, killing five Hamas gunmen, convincing some in Gaza that the Israeli assault had begun while reinforcing Israeli fears that Hamas was plotting terror all along. On June 29, an Israeli air attack on a rocket squad killed a Hamas operative. Hamas protested. The next day it unleashed a rocket barrage, its first since 2012. The cease-fire was over.

As Goldberg documented in the Forward, this crisis was manufactured by Netanyahu for political ends.

The United States government has many levers on Netanyahu. Of course the United States gives Netanyahu billions of taxpayers' dollars a year, but while it would be politically difficult (to put it mildly) to cut off US military aid - the Obama Administration could not bring itself to cut off military aid to the Egyptian military coup, even when clearly required to do so by US law - the administration has many other, more subtle levers on Netanyahu that it could deploy without giving AIPAC, the ADL and their allies a convenient target for counterattack. The administration could raise the volume of its public criticism of Netanyahu. The administration could let it be known that it might refrain from vetoing a UN resolution that condemned Netanyahu. The administration could "leak" that it is deepening efforts to engage Hamas politically, then issue a non-denial denial when these efforts are criticized. The administration knows full well that it has all these levers and more. All it lacks is sufficient public political pressure to use them to force an end to the killing.

From the past, we know how this ends. It ends with a new ceasefire. The key question is how many human beings will be killed and injured in the meantime. President Obama should use all his levers to stop the killing now.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

More McCarthyism Aimed Against Academic Freedom and Dissent Saturday, 05 July 2014 13:40
By David Palumbo-Liu, Truthout | Op-Ed


Recently Truthout featured a piece by Chip Gibbons entitled, "'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Signatory to a Boycott of Israel?' The BDS Movement and the Return of McCarthyism." In it, he outlines the censorious measures taken against those who support BDS, most particularly academic organizations such as the Association for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Gibbons mentions the legislation put forward in New York and Maryland (note that this also occurred in Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kansas and South Carolina), as well as the actions of the Jewish Community Center to vet and censor artistic and cultural performances.

Another practice that smacks of McCarthyism is the misuse of state and federal law to pressure universities to restrict criticism of Israel on campus. In a previous piece I wrote of the use of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to stifle and punish protests on campus under the pretense that such protests harm the feelings of "Jewish students." In its rejection of the vast majority of such complaints, the US Department of Education declared that the kinds of protest events that were the basis of complaint "constitute expression on matters of public concern directed to the University community. In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience."

One of the most active groups that have been monitoring college and university campuses for any hint of criticism of Israel has called for the investigation and interrogation of teachers suspected of engaging in anti-Semitic behavior. The Amcha Initiative says its mission is "to investigate, document, educate about, and combat anti-Semitic behavior on college and university campuses in America and the institutional structures that legitimize it and allow it to flourish." Its objectives are "to investigate and document the problem of campus anti-Semitism in our extensive database and through investigative reports; to organize and carry out campaigns to address campus anti-Semitism that include communicating with university, state and federal leaders about the problem and possible solutions, engaging grassroots activists, and collaborating with other legal and educational organizations; to educate the Jewish community and the general public about the problem of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses; [and] to foster grassroots activism to act locally and nationally to combat campus anti-Semitism across the country." The problem is that in many cases, here as elsewhere, "anti-Semitism" is a code word that covers any criticism of Israel - a legitimate complaint against ethnic and religious prejudice is appropriated as a kind of Trojan horse to disarm political criticism.

In a letter to the University of California Board of Regents, the National Lawyers Guild described the ways Amcha tends to operate:

They concoct demonstrably false narratives about specific campus events involving criticism of Israeli government policies, describing them as if they targeted, even violently so, Jewish students. They then paint an overall picture of campuses in which Jewish students are under constant attack in a pervasively hostile environment - in direct contradiction of actual surveys of those students, who overwhelmingly report the opposite. They write to UC chancellors and CSU presidents, citing falsified events, to demand that they condemn the speech of advocates for Palestinian rights and shut down their campus organizations. They attack academic freedom of faculty members by similarly mischaracterizing expressions of personal views and pretending that the faculty purport to represent official university positions; and by proffering outlandish accusations against academic departments that sponsor speakers with whom they disagree, or that affiliate with academic associations that adopt certain positions on important issues.

A prime example of this kind of harassment is the case of Dr. Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, an associate professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. In a letter signed by the Amcha Initiative, StandWithUs and others, the authors assert that Abdulhadi went on a "political solidarity tour" to Jordan, "1948 areas of Palestine" (i.e. Israel) and the West Bank, "a trip whose primary purpose was to build relationships between Palestinian and North American anti-Israel political activists in order to promote anti-Semitic academic, cultural and economic boycotts of Israel. Abdulhadi arranged for the delegation she led, which included SFSU Ethnic Studies Professor Joanne Barker and Abdulhadi's husband Jaime Veve, to meet with at least one known terrorist, Leila Khaled, as well as with a Muslim cleric who had been imprisoned by Israel because of his ties to Hamas and who was again incarcerated by Israel a few weeks after meeting with Abdulhadi's delegation, on charges of incitement to violence."

Abdulhadi, on the other hand, describes her trip as involving her participation in "an international conference and to research, network, and collaborate with potential university partners towards a possible memorandum of understanding between San Francisco State University (SFSU) and Palestinian universities. My stated intention to research and network with scholars in the region and throughout the world is a legitimate and important use of state funding. As Senior Scholar at the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED), it is part of my job duties to establish educational and research collaboration on Palestine and between Palestinians in the US and elsewhere in the world. Research and discussion between actors in the US and Palestine is fundamental to my scholarship. It is one of the reasons why SFSU hired me in the first place. These relationships also create academic opportunities for students and my fellow faculty members at SFSU. I am also committed to nurturing AMED as a site for community engagement and knowledge production toward social justice - another reason why I was recruited for this position."

As for her meeting with Khaled, Abdulhadi says, "Khaled is a Palestinian feminist icon. She is therefore relevant to my research and pedagogy, both of which aim to revise Palestinian women's studies by critiquing conventional wisdom within the feminist canon. In my courses, I aim to provide a counter narrative to the orientalist depictions of Palestinian, and other Arab and Muslim, women as weak and docile - and men as bloodthirsty and misogynist. To this end, I screen several films including 'Leila Khaled: Hijacker?' and open these classes to the public."

The university administration has supported Abdulhadi's portrayal of the facts. In his May 28 report to the SFSU president, Dr. Ken Monteiro, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, wrote:

Though confident in what we had originally authorized, I reviewed Dr. Abdulhadi's travel claim and it is correct and appropriate. We hired Dr. Abdulhadi explicitly for her work in Palestine and with Palestinians in the Diaspora including, but not limited to, the USA. Her travel involved meetings and discussions with people who are related to her research. Her past, current and in preparation publications evidence publicly that her travel is the basis for her scholarship, scholarship that is internationally regarded.

The Abdulhadi case is certainly not the only one. The Amcha Initiative has made similarly frivolous complaints regarding campus speech critical of Israeli policies. Each of these complaints was either appropriately ignored or dismissed promptly by authorities. These include complaints to:

UC Los Angeles (accusing a professor of anti-Semitism for a link on his course website material related to the boycott movement). See "UCLA Professor Wins Fight Over Academic Freedom," July 20, 2012, Los Angeles Times.

Cal State Northridge and the California Attorney General (claiming a professor's website advocating boycott violates law). See Letter to California State University Board of Trustees from the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild, September 22, 2013.

San Jose State (against a professor alleging anti-Semitism for organizing a workshop on "Peacebuilding, Nonviolence and Approaches to Teaching the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”). See Letter Concerning San Jose State University Response to Attacks Against Professor Persis Karim After Conference on Teaching the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, May 16, 2013, Jadaliyya.

The University of California's President's Office (broadly making false accusations of support for terrorism against all chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association across the University of California).

While it is heartening to see the defeat of such acts of intimidation and harassment, it is disturbing to see the price academics who disagree with Amcha and its ilk have to pay.

Colleges and universities are supposed to be places where there is a free flow of diverse ideas and perspectives. Few of us would object to administrators protecting students from emotional harm, yet most of us, I would hope, would see through the pretense of these acts of McCarthyism, which cynically affix "anti-Semitism" to all those who dare to protest Israeli state policies. In so doing, they impinge upon the academic freedom of these teachers and create a chilly and repressive climate on campus.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Surveillance Lessons From 1971 Still Resonate Today

Saturday, 05 July 2014 12:48
By Joseph Torres, Free Press | Op-Ed


Our nation has long used surveillance to control marginalized and dissident voices.

It’s an issue my colleagues and I recently learned a great deal about from activists who exposed our nation’s shameful surveillance operations 40 years ago. And it’s an issue that’s relevant today given the surveillance state’s targeting of communities of color.

Last week, we had the honor of escorting two longtime activists — John and Bonnie Raines — to Capitol Hill to discuss the heroic efforts of a group of anti-war activists who uncovered J. Edgar Hoover’s illegal spying operations in 1971.

If you’ve never heard of this married couple before, you’re not alone. There’s a good reason for that.

In 1971, the Raines were two of eight members comprising the Citizens' Commission, which set out to investigate the FBI.

The Commission wanted to prove the government was spying on anti-war and civil rights activists and broke into the FBI field office in Media, Pa., to search for evidence.

The files they removed from the FBI office confirmed their fears.

They mailed copies of the documents they lifted to Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger, who broke the story. NBC News reporter Carl Stern later uncovered the FBI’s illegal Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), which sought to destroy, discredit and harass civil rights and anti-war groups and activists.

The scandal made nationwide news and resulted in the formation of the Church Committee, marking the first time Congress investigated U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Church Committee’s findings led to the creation of safeguards to curb the power of domestic intelligence agencies. Unfortunately, those protections have eroded since Sept. 11, 2001.

The eight burglars who broke into the FBI office in 1971 were never captured and for decades their identities were kept secret. But last January, Medsger released a book — The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI — that identified five of the eight burglars, including the Raines.

The story is also captured in a new documentary, 1971, that screened last week in Washington, D.C., and brought the Raines to town.

My colleagues and I accompanied the Raines and Johanna Hamilton, the director of the film, to several Senate offices to discuss their stories and how their efforts to expose the FBI 40 years ago are pertinent today in light of the NSA’s surveillance operations.

The government’s failure to rein in the abuses of J. Edgar Hoover was a major reason why the activists broke into the FBI office. And it’s why the NSA spying scandal troubles them. Government surveillance, they argue, has a chilling effect on the public.

Many communities of color have felt that impact, a topic that was addressed last week at a network gathering on racial justice and surveillance at the annual Allied Media Conference in Detroit.

Free Press, May First/People Link, and the Center for Media Justice organized the gathering to examine the relationship between race and surveillance and to understand what happens when communities of color are the targets of government surveillance.

More than 50 groups and individuals took part, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.

The participants noted that surveillance of communities of color is rooted in a desire to maintain social control in the service of white supremacy. It’s also rooted in the economic exploitation of oppressed communities — a practice that benefits corporations and the wealthy.

In activities and small-group discussions, participants discussed the motives behind surveillance and explored what could be done to eliminate its abuses.

A major goal of the day-long gathering was to craft a Points of Unity statement that outlined the common themes that emerged. After a spirited discussion, participants agreed to the following four points. They are:

The roots of surveillance are in systems of power and oppression, including white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, sexism, ableism and homophobia.

Surveillance by government and corporations is a human rights violation.

Communities can collect, maintain and analyze their own data for their own protections.

Privacy is a human right and transparency is a government responsibility.

As one of the organizers of this event, we hope the Points of Unity statement will lead to discussions across the country on how to put a stop to the discriminatory surveillance state. And we hope those fighting against government surveillance will take a moment to read the book or watch the movie about the 1971 burglary to learn lessons that could inform our activism today.

Surveillance will continue unless activists are willing to speak up — or, as the Raines did, put so much on the line in the fight to protect our individual and collective rights.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Is Israel Preparing New Military Offensive Against Gaza?

Thursday, 03 July 2014 11:19
By Anton Woronczuk, The Real News Network | Video Interview


More at The Real News


TRNN Middle East correspondent Yousef al-Helou says that Israel is punishing Gaza despite no evidence that shows Hamas was responsible for the deaths of the Israeli teenagers.


ANTON WORONCZUK, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Anton Woronczuk in Baltimore. And here to give us an update on the situation in Gaza is Yousef al-Helou.

Yousef al-Helou is a Palestinian journalist and Middle East correspondent for The Real News Network.

Thanks for joining us, Yousef.


WORONCZUK: So, Yousef, can you give us an update on the latest events in Gaza right now after Israel launched about 34 airstrikes?

AL-HELOU: Well, Israel's continued assault on Gaza, whether it's in the West Bank or in the besieged Gaza Strip, is a prelude that could lead to a large military assault on Gaza. This is what people say here. People each night prepare themselves for more airstrikes. This has become the norm for the past three weeks, and it has an intensified last night with more than 30 air raids throughout the besieged territory.

And we were hearing threats made by Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that Gaza should bear the consequences, meaning, Hamas, which has been in control of Gaza for the past several years. We have been witnessing a rise in the threats against the Hamas-ruled Gaza, who actually struck a deal with the Palestinian Authority, and they started implementing the national unity deal. Obviously Israel is not happy with that unity deal, because Palestinian nationality is unity is Israel's greatest fear. So we could witness more escalation on the part of Israel against Gaza, against the West Bank, and, of course, the resistance movements in Gaza. They say that they will not stay idle and all options are on the table. And, of course, they take Israel's threats seriously. And they have [incompr.] to coordinate their response in case Israel decided to launch an assault on Gaza, whether it's a ground invasion or to expand its military assault from the air or from the sea.

WORONCZUK: Okay. And it's been about a day since Israel lifted the gag order on the press regarding the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers. And since then, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have been saying that Hamas is responsible for their deaths. What evidence is there for this thus far, and how has Hamas responded?

AL-HELOU: So far, none of the Palestinian groups have claimed responsibility, including Hamas. They said that they--I mean, they have denied responsibility, and they said that Israel does not need an excuse to attack the Palestinians. But, of course, this incident, after the discovery of the three bodies of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank near Hebron, of course is going to give a justification for the Israelis to attack Gaza or the West Bank.

But, I mean, according to analysts, they say that just this shows that Israel is trying to export its failure, it's trying to export its internal problems by attacking Gaza. Gaza has no connection to the incident in the West Bank. I mean, the Palestinians of Gaza, they cannot go to the West Bank. And yet Israel blames Hamas in Gaza, and they arrested a number of Hamas lawmakers, they arrested a number of [incompr.] who were released in the prisoner exchange deal. And also they arrested journalists in the West Bank. They demolished houses. And they continued to, you know, gather and send armored vehicles along the border with Gaza. Gunships are battering the Mediterranean Sea of the seashores of Gaza. Drones do not leave the skies of Gaza. And, obviously, Israel is collectively punishing the Palestinians for this incident.

Now, ironically, according to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, more than 1,500 Palestinian children have been killed between the year 2000 and 2014. This means Israel is killing a Palestinian child each three days. And this is contradictory. I mean, Israel worried about its citizens, but about the Palestinian citizens? I mean, Israel is killing Palestinians every day imposing the siege and practicing all means of collective punishment. So this is the question that should be addressed. The Palestinian blood is not cheap.

WORONCZUK: Okay. Yousef al-Helou, TRNN correspondent for the Middle East. Thank you so much for that update.

AL-HELOU: Thank you.

WORONCZUK: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Glenn Greenwald: Why Did NBC Pull Veteran Reporter After He Witnessed Israeli Killing of Gaza Kids?

Monday, 21 July 2014 10:56
By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now! | Video Interview


NBC is facing questions over its decision to pull veteran news correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin out of Gaza just after he personally witnessed the Israeli military’s killing of four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach. Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball around with the boys just minutes before they died. He is a longtime reporter in the region. In his coverage, he reports on the Gaza conflict in the context of the Israeli occupation, sparking criticism from some supporters of the Israeli offensive. Back in 2008 and 2009, when he worked for Al Jazeera, Mohyeldin and his colleague Sherine Tadros were the only foreign journalists on the ground in Gaza as Israel killed 1,400 people in what it called "Operation Cast Lead." We speak to Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, who has revealed that the decision to pull Mohyeldin from Gaza and remove him from reporting on the situation came from NBC executive David Verdi. Greenwald also comments on the broader picture of the coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict in the U.S. media.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: NBC is facing questions over its decision to pull its veteran news correspondent out of Gaza. Ayman Mohyeldin personally witnessed the Israeli military’s killing of four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach Wednesday. Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball around with the boys just minutes before they died. He’s a veteran reporter who has placed the Gaza conflict in the context of the Israeli occupation, sparking criticism from some supporters of the Israeli offensive. Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept has revealed the decision to pull Mohyeldin from Gaza and remove him from reporting on the situation, it came from NBC executive David Verdi.

AMY GOODMAN: NBC executives have reportedly claimed the decision was motivated by "security concerns" ahead of Israel’s ground invasion, but late Wednesday NBC sent correspondent Richard Engel to Gaza. During the 2008-2009 war on Gaza, Ayman Mohyeldin, who then worked for Al Jazeera, was one of the only foreign journalists reporting from Gaza.

NBC News did not respond to Democracy Now!’s repeated requests for comment on its decision.

For more, we’re joined by Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. His piece for The Intercept at First Look Media is "NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children."

We are also with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who knows Ayman well. Sharif is in Gaza City.

Glenn, talk about what you found out yesterday.

GLENN GREENWALD: Interestingly, Amy, the way that this came to my attention was that there are people inside NBC News, including some very recognizable and high-profile journalists, who were very angry that, first of all, when NBC News with Brian Williams reported on the killing of those four boys on the beach, instead of having their journalist who made this event known to the world and who witnessed it firsthand, Ayman, report on it, they instead had Richard Engel in Tel Aviv do the reporting, and Ayman never appeared at all on the Nightly News broadcast. But that, you can chalk up to sort of standard network news machinations about who’s a bigger star and who’s more senior and the like.

But what was really stunning was, later that day, after what arguably was his biggest or one of his biggest events in his journalism career, where he really made a huge impact on having the world understand what’s happening in Gaza, they not only blocked him from appearing on the air to talk about it on NBC News, but then they told him to leave Gaza immediately. And when I interviewed NBC executives and the like, none of whom would talk to me on the record but who talked to me on background and the like, they claimed that the reason they told him to leave was because they had security concerns, not specific to him, but just general ones about whether journalists could be safe with the imminent Israeli ground invasion. And yet, as you just said, later that day, they sent into Gaza not only Richard Engel, but also a producer who works for NBC who had never been to Gaza, who doesn’t speak Arabic, who doesn’t know the area at all, in contrast to Ayman, who’s been there for many years, who speaks fluent Arabic and who is a very experienced war reporter. And so it raises very serious questions about what the real reason is that they told him, over his objections, that he had to leave.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Glenn, there have been questions raised about not just whether NBC was concerned about his reporting, but also about his post on social media. Could you talk about that, as well?

GLENN GREENWALD: What happened on the day that he witnessed the beach attacks was he posted some incredible tweets and, as well, some amazing photos and videos on both his Facebook and Instagram accounts about the reaction of the parents of the Palestinian boys learning right that moment that they had been killed—very, very powerful stuff. And he had also tweeted a couple of what I guess in the network news business is viewed as some unusually pointed tweets about the position of the U.S. government. Namely, the State Department spokeswoman was asked about this killing, and she essentially absolved Israel and blamed Hamas, what the U.S. government always does, even in the most egregious cases of Israeli war crimes. And he went onto Twitter and Facebook and posted some very mild comments essentially noting what the State Department had said and then inviting people to comment on it. And later that day, he deleted it. There’s speculation that he was either asked to delete it or that that was a cause in why he was removed. I don’t know whether that’s the case at all, because there’s still questions about what the real reason is.

But certainly, the whole context of what has happened here is that he is a very unique reporter, especially for a network news position. You know, the kind of reporting that—the amazing reporting that we just hear from Sharif usually is not the kind of reporting that you hear on the network news. And Ayman does that kind of reporting. And he’s been criticized for it by neoconservative outlets, calling him a Hamas sympathizer and the like. And so, for NBC to remove him at exactly the moment where he brought the humanity of this war and the humanity of Gazans to the world, at the same time that he posted some tweets that in network news land would be considered controversial because it questions the U.S. government and the Israeli position, at the very least, looks awful, and I think, for NBC News’s credibility, demands that they provide some answers about what really happened here.

AMY GOODMAN: Sharif Abdel Kouddous, I know that you’re going to have to leave that area, and I want to ask you about the reporting, overall, of Ayman Mohyeldin, who is very well known around the world for his reporting. Among the tweets he put out, "Moutaz Bakr, 1 of the boys who survived #Israeli shelling, was shaking w a broken [arm], blood shot eyes, says he saw 3 of his friends killed." He also tweeted, "4 Palestinian kids killed in a single Israeli airstrike. Minutes before they were killed by our hotel, I was kicking a ball with them." But talk about the years of his reporting in Gaza. You also know him from Egypt.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, yeah, Amy, I’m honored to count Ayman as a close friend. He’s truly an incredible reporter. And when we’re talking about Gaza, literally, I don’t think that there is a better reporter in the world who understands Gaza—an international correspondent, that is—who understands Gaza, who has covered Gaza as much. There literally isn’t another reporter, international reporter, who has covered all three Israeli assaults on Gaza, the 2008-2009 assault, the 2012 assault and the assault that we’re undergoing now. He’s connected here. He understands the place. He understands the area. He’s always the first guy at the story.

And we saw his incredible reporting in these past few days. It was really noted, if you looked at media discussion sites and other columns noting how NBC was totally changing its coverage compared to the other U.S. networks, and this was Ayman’s goal all along. You know, when he first left Al Jazeera after 2011 and moved to a mainstream U.S. network, this was what he had in mind, is to bring this kind of coverage that is never or very, very rarely seen on the corporate media in the States. And he was succeeding in doing that. And we don’t know the reasons why he was taken out of Gaza. You’re taking one of—the most experienced reporter in Gaza out of Gaza. Citing security reasons is just not very credible. So we don’t know why they removed him, whether this was a fight about, you know, a bigger star and having Engel come in, or whether it was about that his coverage was really having a serious effect, showing the true side of this assault, the true side of this conflict, and that political considerations came into play.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about that history, Sharif, 2008-'09, right after President Obama was elected. This was the period when the world was talking about the United States and the Israeli assault on Gaza began. Al Jazeera was the only network inside Gaza. And I wanted to go to a film that he and Sherine Tadros made, the documentary that's called The War Around Us, which shows Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros reporting from Gaza during that 2008 Israeli war known as Operation Cast Lead, at the time, again, the only Western journalists in Gaza due to the media blockade. In this clip, Ayman reports from the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: We’re actually standing in the orthopedic section of the hospital, because it was made into a makeshift emergency intensive care unit. And I’m going to take you in here and have to warn you, though, that the pictures may be a bit disturbing, but these are some of the cases that are being treated. This woman right here, 55-year-old Fatma, a charity worker, she was working in a building that was adjacent to one of the buildings that was struck. But I have to again emphasize that the place we are standing is not an emergency care facility, nor is it an intensive care or special care unit. This is a makeshift room. All of these appliances that are being put to use here have been put really on an ad hoc base relatively quickly, as the cases were brought in.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to another clip from their documentary, The War Around Us. Here, Ayman Mohyeldin explains how one of the most difficult parts of reporting from Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was challenging Israeli propaganda.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: You had a propaganda machine that was in full swing to portray the war as a just war, as a necessary war, a war of self-defense. And when you have a PR machine that is portraying everyone in Gaza as a Hamas sympathizer, as a terrorist sympathizer, and that justifies the kind of bombardment, that was the biggest challenge that we had to contend with—reporting the truth in the face of that spin.

AMY GOODMAN: That was an excerpt of The War Around Us. Again, Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros, the only international reporters broadcasting during what the Israeli military called Operation Cast Lead. Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed in that assault.

Glenn Greenwald, if you can talk more broadly now about the U.S. media coverage of what is taking place right now? For that, I wanted to go to a clip for one minute of Diane Sawyer. This is a clip of Diane Sawyer reporting just a few days ago. Diane Sawyer, of course, the news anchor on ABC. Last week, she misidentified scenes of the aftermath of the Israeli missile strikes in Gaza as destruction caused by Palestinian rocket fire.

DIANE SAWYER: We take you overseas now to the rockets raining down on Israel today, as Israel tried to shoot them out of the sky, all part of the tinderbox, Israelis and Palestinians. And here an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can, one woman standing speechless among the ruins.

AMY GOODMAN: For our radio listeners, as Diane Sawyer was speaking, there was video footage of a Palestinian family gathering belongings in the smoking debris after an Israeli missile hit their home. Well, on Thursday, Sawyer apologized for misidentifying the victims of that attack.

DIANE SAWYER: On Tuesday evening, we made a mistake, and I want to put up these pictures again, because during an introduction to a story on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, I misidentified these powerful images. The people in these photos are Palestinians in Gaza in the aftermath of an airstrike by Israel—not Israelis, as I mistakenly described them. And we want you to know we are truly sorry for the error.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Diane Sawyer’s apology a week ago. Glenn Greenwald, can you comment?

GLENN GREENWALD: Interestingly, you know, from working in the last several years in media, I’ve gotten to know a lot of journalists. I’ve gotten to understand a lot more about how these large media outlets function. I’ve worked with some of them over the last year in the reporting I’ve done. And it really is remarkable, and not hyperbole, that there is nothing that makes major media figures and news executives more petrified than reporting on Israel. I mean, the way in which they become so frightened to do any sort of reporting that could make what they call Israel’s supporters inside the United States angry really can’t be overstated.

And that’s the reason why this ABC, quote-unquote, "error" resonated so greatly, is because one of the things that you almost never see in major American media reporting is anything that shows the suffering of the Palestinians, that shows the brutal savagery of the Israeli military inside of Gaza. It was almost like they showed it by accident there and then just misreported it as being Israeli suffering because that’s what they’re so accustomed to showing, even though Israeli suffering is so much less than the havoc that is wreaked on the Palestinians.

But the one thing I will say that I think is actually encouraging is this is one case where social media really does make a difference. You have now Gazans inside of the worst attack zones that are able to go onto Twitter, that are able to go onto Facebook, that are able to upload video imagery, that are able to be heard in their own voices. And you have lots of pushback on social media, as well, toward media outlets and their unbelievably just grotesque pro-Israel bias, in a way that I think has really kind of improved the coverage this time, so that we are now seeing more of the reality of Israeli militarism and aggression. And they’re not being able to get away with calling every victim a Hamas terrorist or a Hamas supporter or a human shield, because social media enables the stark reality of what the Israelis are doing to be seen. It’s just part of the overall trend where major media outlets are losing their monopoly on how we understand the world, but it is still the case that nothing puts fear into the heart of American journalists—and American politicians—like the word "Israel." It’s really remarkable to watch.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Glenn, in terms of this issue of the pressure on these media companies and also the ability of the Israeli government and their supporters to manage news coverage—for instance, the invasion was actually—the stage was set for it when an unnamed, high-ranking Israeli official conducted interviews with The Washington Post, The New York Times, all of whom wrote stories before the invasion began that it was likely to happen, but yet never named the official and, in essence, participated in the trial balloon that was set up for the invasion.

GLENN GREENWALD: American media officials are incredibly subservient to American political officials. That’s been—you know, American media figures are. But when it comes to Israeli political officials, it’s virtually cringe-inducing to watch how accommodating and deferential and submissive they become. And it really is true that American media outlets play a very similar role when it comes to Israeli military operations as they played in the run-up to the Iraq War, which is that they give constant anonymity to any Israeli military or political official who request it, they launder those claims without the slightest bit of skepticism expressed, and there’s never or virtually never the other side presented, which is the views of the people living in those areas that are attacked by Israeli aggression, or the politicians or the military officials who are in Gaza or who are in the West Bank. It’s incredibly one-sided, it’s propagandistic, and it really is deliberate. I mean, it’s so overwhelming and extreme in terms of how one-sided they are. They barely pretend even to be even-handed in their coverage.

And, you know, you’ve seen—I mean, I think one of the most amazing things was, the producer, the longtime producer at CNN, Octavia Nasr, she was there for 20 years, a completely competent, well-liked employee, never had any kind of disciplinary problems. A Shia imam in Lebanon, who had links to Hezbollah, died. He was beloved by millions and millions of Shia around the world. She went on Twitter and very innocuously just expressed condolences, and she was instantly fired.

And this has happened over and over, where major media figures have been stigmatized or lost their jobs or had their careers destroyed for the slightest amount of deviation from pro-Israel orthodoxies. And those lessons have been really well learned, just in the same way that American members of Congress are petrified of uttering a peep of criticism of Israel, which is why you see pro-Israel resolutions unanimously passing in the U.S. Congress, even as public opinion is sharply divided around the world or even against the Israelis. I mean, the evidence is just so conclusive, so clear, about all kinds of pressure and intimidation that are put on American media and political figures, such that we have less of an ability in the United States to debate Israel policy than they even do in Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, I want to thank you for being with us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. His piece for The Intercept is "NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children." We’ll link to that. His new book is No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. When we come back, a Malaysian flight goes down over Ukraine. Who did it? We’ll speak with Russian affairs expert Stephen Cohen. Stay with us.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

Human Catastrophe at Gaza's Hospitals

Monday, 21 July 2014 11:31
By Dennis J Bernstein, Consortium News | Interview


The latest Israeli war in Gaza has claimed more than 330 lives, including scores of children, and left thousands wounded, forcing overworked and under-supplied medical personnel to scramble in a desperate struggle to save lives.

One of those doctors, Norwegian physician Mads Gilbert, was in Gaza during Israel’s last major assault, Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, and is now tending to the flood of wounded pouring into Shifa Hospital as a result of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Dr. Gilbert was interviewed by Dennis J Bernstein for Pacifica’s “Flashpoints” program.

DB: Give us an overview in terms of the medical situation. What can you tells us in terms of the extent of the wounds, what type is most prevalent, the number of dead and wounded at this hour.

MG: I am now in Shifa Hospital in central Gaza City. Shifa Hospital is the trauma center for the 1.7 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. It’s a very important hospital, but its function is almost crippled by the longstanding, seven-year Israeli siege of Gaza, which has caused extensive deficiencies on all types of equipment needed for running a hospital; disposable instruments, sutures, and the more basic things like water and electricity.

So, it’s really a miracle that the staffing at Shifa managed to improvise all that you need to improvise in order to sustain a caseload, like we had [Thursday], of around 100 cases coming into Shifa, many of them severally injured. And before I go to the injuries, let me just underline one thing. Health is not only a question of a health-care system, it is in as much a question of the basic commodities in life – water, food, human security, education, work and so on. And all these basic pre-conditions for public health are lacking in Gaza as a result of the occupation and the siege of Gaza.

As for the injuries, we have had a steady current of injured, dying, dead during this close to two weeks of Israeli onslaught. The most striking impression and documented feature is that 80 – 90 percent of the injured and killed are civilians. This is according to U.N. and the Palestinian Minister of Health. Fifty percent, pretty much exactly 50 percent of the injured are women and children. About one-quarter to one-third of the killed are children.

This is really a large-scale attack on the Palestinian civilian society. And bear in mind, that to a man in Gaza there absolutely is nowhere to hide, there is nowhere to hide. There is no shelter, there is no early warning system, no sirens, no civil defense. On top of that you can’t see, you can’t really get away from this mess. You can’t take you family and escape to a neighboring state or up in the mountains or away. Because you are incarcerated. It is like a prison being bombed. Completely.

DB: Now let me ask you, in terms, you said that most of the wounded and killed are civilians. Could you say a little bit more about, just to keep a human face on this, who you’ve seen, who’s coming in, and what do the wounds look like? Are they consistent with advanced weaponry? What can you tell us about that?

MG: Well, you know, war is a dirty thing. And we just received up to thirty [victims] from families that were bombed now around 8:30 [on Friday] just as we’re having these talks, women, children, elders coming in with shrapnel injuries from the heavy Israeli artillery that has been shot … since last night. These artillery grenades produce deadly shrapnel that travels at a very high speed and, if you are unlucky, they will penetrate one of your cavities, the abdomen, the chest or the brain, and cause life threatening bleedings. And this is a time critical event if you want to survive. The doctors and the surgeons must detect the bleeding, and immediately do surgery to stop the bleeding. This is one type of injuries.

The other type of injuries we are seeing are the traumatic amputations. We have seen now, like in 2006, 2009 and 2012, extreme amputations: legs ripped off at the level of the hip, arms ripped off under the armpit and bodies cut in two, with no signs of shrapnel injuries. Now we don’t really know what kind of explosives these are, but it has been discussed among people who are knowledgeable about weapons, that this might be the result of explosives called the DIME [Dense Inert Metal Explosive] weapon, a metal explosive.

But I underline, we don’t have any proof of this. And it doesn’t really matter what type of weapon you are injured or killed by. If you are killed or injured, the end point is the same. So if I should talk about any illegal weapon used by the Israeli forces, it is the weapons that are illegal according to the international regulations and laws of war regulated in the Geneva Conventions.

And there are three illegal weapons that Israel is using. Number one, is the collective punishment defined by the siege that has lasted for seven years and that is really making the whole population suffer really large difficulties. The second illegal weapon is the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, not protecting the civilians at all, which is against the Geneva Conventions, Article 33. And the third illegal weapon is the disproportionate use of force. The fighting parties are obliged to use proportional force. Israel is using an overwhelmingly disproportional use of force which is reflected in the fact that now close to 300 Palestinians have been killed or massacred, and 1 Israeli is killed [at the time of the interview on Friday]. That is 1 to 300 which tells you everything about the disproportion.

So really this is a very uneven, if you can even call it a war. It is an occupant who is viciously bombing a large civilian population. They have nowhere to fly and are basically defenseless.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

DB: Now we know about all the embargoes. We talked a little about this before. Do the hospitals, where you are in Shifa [Hospital] in Gaza, do the hospitals have the supplies that they need? Are people getting what they need? Is it able to come in?

MG: Absolutely not. As a result, as I said, of the siege, the hospital system has been sort of slowly crippled along with the civilian society. And when the Egyptian president closed the tunnels which was really the life-line into Gaza, the fuel crisis went up 400 percent and it basically sort of crushed all the public budgets. So for example, doctors in this municipality can no longer afford fuels for the generators which is producing electricity in order to run the waste water pumps and the cleaning machinery for sewage. So currently 65,000 cubic meters of raw sewage is running into the Mediterranean area.

And in every aspect of civilian life, and a normal life, they are effects of the siege. So the hospitals are only one sector where this lack of supplies has really reduced the capacity. And let me illustrate this by saying that on the 17th of June, the leadership in Shifa Hospital decided to cancel all elective surgeries, meaning planned surgery and only doing emergencies. This was a few weeks before the attacks started.

And on the 3rd of July, two days before the attack started, they decided to only do life-saving emergency surgery. That means, basically, that 1.7 million Palestinian people are without the health care that you need for your daily life. Like for cancer, for orthopedic, for anything that you are being treated for.

So, it’s running on sort of an emergency, very basic level, and on top this now comes this large influx of very severely wounded. We were running six operating rooms last night. We were operating continuously as these 100 plus, injured came pulling into the hospital.

I am amazed. I am deeply impressed by the quality and the morality of the Palestinian health workers. From the ambulance paramedics, to the nurses, to the doctors, to the cleaners. They stand tall. They haven’t been paid normal salaries since March and before that they had 50 percent salary for eight months, still they come to work. They are working for nothing. … They are exhausted, extremely exhausted, but they don’t leave their people. I am deeply impressed by their morality.

DB: And, Dr. Gilbert, when you were there in 2008 and 2009, there were multiple attacks on hospitals. There were many attacks on ambulances. We understand that a hospital in the north that deals with the elderly and the infirmed was under attack. What can you tell us about that?

MG: This was the Al-Wafa hospital which was the most important rehabilitation hospital in Gaza and the Gaza Strip. Al-Wafa is – or was – a rather well organized rehabilitation center. They have 18 patients now. They were actually ordered by the Israeli armed forces to evacuate the hospital because they were going to bomb it.

Now, don’t forget that hospitals are protected by the international laws and the Geneva Convention. You can’t bomb hospitals like that, but Israel can. Where was the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]? Where was the U.N? Where were the white cars rolling up to protect this hospital?

There’s total lawlessness, here. Israeli impunity seems to allow them to do whatever they want. Kill children. Kill elders. Bomb hospitals. Stop the water. Stop the electricity. Stop the supply of drugs. What is this, medieval times? What is this? What kind of morality is this? What kind of treatment of decent people is this? You call somebody terrorist and you think that you’re exempted from the laws of moral and international regulations? It shouldn’t go on like this. This has to be stopped.

And I tell Mr. Obama, if you have a heart, come to Gaza. Spend a night with me in Shifa Hospital and I’m absolutely sure that he will change his mind. Mr. Obama, come here and tend to the children of Gaza, screaming, injured, so many shrapnels and burns. See what this is actually on the ground. This is not a war against some enemy called terrorist. This is an all-out war against a civilian population of Gaza who has deserved nothing to have this hell upon them from the Israeli war machine. This is state terrorism, at a very high level.

DB: And, finally, you bring up the children. We know there have been multiple deaths of children, I think it’s over 40 now. We saw the slaughter on the beach. We saw other families being wiped out. There are the kids who already dead, and what about the impact on the tens, and hundreds of thousands of young people in the Gaza Strip? How does this impact on the child’s health if you are not wounded?

MG: That’s an important question. Let me just give you the numbers updated as of 4 o’clock this afternoon [Friday]. So hard, 62 children have been killed by the Israelis in Gaza, 24 women — that is 86 women and children, those already killed. This is among the 270 to be killed, so far. Among the 2,196 injured Palestinians, 637 are children. So the Israelis have injured almost 650 children and killed 62.

Now for a moment, God forbid, turn it around and ask yourself, what would the world leaders have said if Palestinian fighters had killed 62 Israeli children and injured 637 Israeli children in less than two weeks? This is what really troubles the Palestinians. We are treated like second-class citizens, like animals.

The laws that apply to the world, do not apply to us. Israel can do what they like. Nobody reacts. They can kill us, they can bomb our houses, they can close our borders, they can do whatever they like, and nobody reacts. This has to stop. This is not a world war. This is so extremely provocative, for the people all over the world.

As for the psychological trauma, Palestinians are strong. They have a very strong coherence in their families. They are filled with what the Arabs and Palestinians call sumud which means steadfastness, they stand tall, they stick together, they don’t rock. They have an extreme resilience. They are not beggars. They are not creeping around, asking for mercy. They say “Give us peace. Give us equity and equality and we will be fine. We don’t need developmental assistance, we just need basic human rights, and peace, and we will manage fine.”

But, of course, it’s an enormous psychological burden. I see like myself. I mean, the Israelis bombing day and night, it’s extremely frightening. We’re in a hospital, but imagine now these coming in from their homes, sitting there having their Christmas dinner, basically, and Israeli grenades hits right in the sitting room, in the living room. And mother and father are sprayed with blood, and two sisters are killed, and everything around them … they’re phoning an ambulance, that are coming to them, they’re getting help in the hospital.

You know, these are scars on your mind for a lifetime. But they mend, they come away. The unfortunate thing is that, they are re-traumatized every third, fourth year by the Israeli war machine, by the Israeli government, who seems actually to have a plan with these repetitious attacks on Gaza, to break the backbone of the Palestinian resistance. That’s never going to happen. Palestinians are like others who are occupied. They will never yield to the occupant.

Norway was occupied for five years, by the Germans, a couple of tens of years by the Swedes, 400 years by the Danes. We get rid of them. We’re a small but we’re a proud and independent nation. People want to be free, like the people in the United States. Why should the Palestinians demand less than freedom and independence?

DB: Well, that’s the question we’re going to leave it at right now. Dr. Mads Gilbert outside the operating room where the bombs continue to fall. Are they continuing to fall, the bombs, the drones?

MG: Oh, yes, oh yes. Oh yes, sir. We heard the drones, which means the hummers, or the humming bees, all over our heads. We are having a large, yellow … the light grenades, hanging over our heads, to light up the ground for the Israeli forces when they want to shoot. And we hear this deafening detonations and explosions from the Israeli air-to-ground rockets and from the artillery shells. I don’t want anybody to experience this, my friend. This is so frightening. This is so painful. And to see this current of injured, and bleeding, and dying children and women. It is even more than I can take, many times.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

"Iraq Has Already Disintegrated": ISIS Expands Stronghold as Leaks Expose US Doubts on Iraqi Forces

Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:21
By Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now! | Video Report

Iraq remains on the verge of splintering into three separate states as Sunni militants expand their stronghold in the north and west of Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared itself a caliphate last month and now controls large parts of northern and western Iraq and much of eastern Syria. Recent advances by ISIS, including in the city of Tikrit, come amidst leaks revealing extensive Pentagon concerns over its effort to advise the Iraqi military. Iraqi politicians, meanwhile, are scrambling to form a power-sharing government in an effort to save Iraq from splintering into separate Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish states. We are joined by two guests: Reporting live from Baghdad is Hannah Allam, foreign affairs correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, and joining us from London is Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent and author of the forthcoming book, The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.



[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 3 years ago

A Nation on the Brink: How US Policies Sealed Iraq's Fate

Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout/TomDispatch | News Analysis

In a Truthout and TomDispatch collaboration, Truthout staff reporter Dahr Jamail has written a searing analysis covering the ongoing disaster in Iraq. Jamail has covered the story extensively for both Truthout and TomDispatch since 2005, and now provides this current perspective on how the legacy of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq continues to destroy lives.


[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 3 years ago